OH H.C. v. DeWine

Ohio

Children’s Rights, DLA Piper LLP, and attorneys Richard F. Dawahare and Jay Langenbahn filed H.C. v. DeWine against the Governor of Ohio and the Director of the State of Ohio Department of Human Services (DHS) on behalf of the 4,500 foster children living with approved relative foster parents. The case targets the state’s failure to provide federally mandated financial support to relatives who provide loving homes for kids in foster care. The complaint, alleges that the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services (ODJFS), the agency responsible for the administration and oversight of the state’s child welfare system, is violating federal law, irreparably harming children and putting an unfair financial strain on vulnerable families.

CASE DETAILS

Venue
U.S. District Court, Southern District of Ohio
Status
Dismissed
Filed
November 19, 2020
Focus Areas
Child Health, Families Together, Government Accountability, Racial Justice

When a state determines that parents can’t take care of their children, child welfare law and policy prioritize placing children with approved grandparents, relatives, or close family friends. Placing children with relatives maintains critical family and cultural connections, helps children heal from trauma, and has been shown to have the best long-term outcomes for the wellbeing of children. The state’s failure to provide critical financial supports to these children and families is made even more urgent by the crushing economic hardships they are facing due to the pandemic.

This is also a racial justice issue. In Ohio and across the US, Black children are disproportionately removed from their homes and placed into foster care. Black children in Ohio comprise 12% of the general population under age 18 and 30% of children in foster care. Black children make up 24% of the state’s kinship foster families, and those families carry an unequal and unfair burden when the state fails to pay required foster care maintenance payments.

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