Abuse Rate in Milwaukee Foster Care Drops to All-Time Low, but Kids Still Lack Stability, Report Finds

Eric Thompson, of counsel to Children’s Rights, released the following statement in response to the latest progress report on the reform of the Milwaukee Bureau of Child Welfare (BMCW) during 2013:

“It’s clear that the ongoing support of Governor Scott Walker and the leadership of BMCW Director Arlene Happach are responsible for the continued significant progress at the Bureau. The rate of abuse in care is at a historic low, with an impressive 99 percent of children visited monthly by their case managers.

“But there is more to do. The Bureau must stop shuffling children between multiple foster homes so frequently, and retain good case managers to maintain a stable workforce. Only with a renewed focus on fixing these remaining issues can Milwaukee ensure the top-notch safety net that kids deserve.”

Children’s Rights and co-counsel filed the federal class action known as Jeanine B. v. Walker in 1993, charging that the Milwaukee child welfare system was grossly mismanaged and failed to protect children in its care. A court-enforceable Settlement Agreement mandating an overhaul of the child welfare system was reached in 2002. State officials are continuing to implement an agreed-upon Corrective Action Plan aimed at bringing BMCW into full compliance with the requirements of the Settlement Agreement.