Massachusetts Child Welfare Case Goes to Trial on Tuesday

Class Action Seeks to Reform DCF on Behalf of 7,500 Children in State Care

(Boston, MA) — U.S. District Judge William Young has determined that the trial for a federal class action lawsuit seeking to reform Massachusetts’ deeply-troubled child welfare system will begin on Tuesday, January 22, 2013 at 9:00 a.m. at the John Joseph Moakley U.S. Courthouse, Courtroom #18, 5th Floor, 1 Courthouse Way, Boston, Massachusetts 02210.

National advocacy group Children’s Rights, with Boston law firm Nutter McClennen & Fish LLP, filed the lawsuit known as Connor B. v. Patrick in April 2010, charging the state’s Department of Children and Families (DCF) with failing to meet its legal duty to protect the 7,500 children entrusted to its care from harm, including abuse and neglect.

According to 2011 federal data, Massachusetts ranked ninth worst among 52 jurisdictions in terms of the rate of maltreatment of children in foster care. A December 2011 U.S. Government Accountability Office study shows that almost 40 percent of foster children in Massachusetts were prescribed psychiatric medications, compared to slightly more than 10 percent of children outside of Massachusetts state custody.

“The Massachusetts child welfare system is one of the most dangerous in the country on a number of significant measures,” said Marcia Robinson Lowry, executive director of Children’s Rights. “We are fully prepared to demonstrate how damaging Massachusetts foster care is for children.”

The trial is expected to run from 9:00 am to 1:00 pm for the next several weeks. Please note that no cameras or recording devices will be permitted inside the courtroom.

More information about Children’s Rights’ campaign to reform the Massachusetts child welfare system can be found at the Massachusetts Class Action Page.