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Children’s Rights Responds to Coakley Characterizations

‘Any Suggestion That the Organization is Motivated By Money Is Irresponsible’

On October 2nd, in response to a political advertisement that questioned Attorney General and gubernatorial candidate Martha Coakley’s commitment to abused and neglected children, Ms. Coakley called into question the motives of Children’s Rights’ lawsuit against the state of Massachusetts. In response Sara Bartosz, lead counsel for the organization, issued the following statement:

“Children’s Rights’ mission is to improve the lives of abused and neglected children in this country. Frankly, any suggestion that the lawsuit is motivated by money is irresponsible. It is not about legal fees or politics. It is about the state’s most vulnerable kids being harmed in the very system that is meant to protect them. The attorney general surely knows that Congress provided for reimbursement of fees so the poor and disenfranchised can gain access to the courts.

“In his ruling, U.S. District Judge William Young wrote that the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) “has failed not only to comport with national standards of care and state and federal requirements but also to comply with its own internal policies” for protecting and supporting children in foster care.

“From the time Children’s Rights and Boston firm Nutter, McClennen and Fish filed suit against DCF in 2010, the public has seen in shocking detail how children are suffering because of the agency’s systemic flaws. Couple that with Judge Young’s finding that there is a “laundry list of problems plaguing DCF,” it is troubling that the Attorney General would say that our case is without merit.

“The attorney general also indicated that our organization takes a one-size-fits-all approach for reform. This is untrue. We presented evidence in specific areas in which the Commonwealth’s foster care system is broken. We have always welcomed an opportunity to talk about these issues with the state so that agreement could be reached on how to fix them. The state chose to defend the suit instead. It is deeply concerning that the very systemic ills raised by our lawsuit remain serious problems today.”