Nine Months after Lawsuit Filed, Extreme Lack of Housing and Mental Health Services in Kansas Foster Care Continue

Four New Plaintiffs Identified in Child Welfare Lawsuit

Contact: Daniel Kessel, 646-216-3343, dkessel@childrensrights.org

Children in the Kansas child welfare system are still experiencing a basic denial of shelter in foster care with extreme disruptions to their stability – with children in foster care still being moved more than 50 or 100 times – almost nine months after litigation was filed against the state. Kansas Appleseed, attorney Lori Burns-Bucklew, the National Center for Youth Law,  DLA Piper LLP, and Children’s Rights asked the Court for permission to file an amended complaint on August 30th, adding four new plaintiffs to the lawsuit. All plaintiffs have experienced the traumatizing effects of multiple placements and lack of consistent mental health services while in the custody of the Kansas Department for Children and Families:

Extreme placement instability remains dangerously high. For each month from July 2018 to June 2019, the average number of placements for children for 1,000 days in foster care ranges from 9.3 to 10.3 – which is roughly one new placement every three months for more than 2.5 years.

This placement rate is more than double the four times a child should be moved within a child welfare system in a 1,000-day period giving Kansas a dubious distinction among the states.

The number of children who re-entered the child welfare system within one year of exiting increased from June 2018 to June 2019, signaling a lack of progress in ensuring children successfully exit foster care.

SPOKESPERSONS:

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Children’s Rights: Fighting to transform America’s failing child welfare, juvenile justice, education and healthcare systems is one of the most important social justice movements of our time. Through strategic advocacy and legal action, Children’s Rights holds state governments accountable to America’s most vulnerable children. A national watchdog organization since 1995, Children’s Rights fights to protect and defend the rights of young people, because we believe that children have the right to the best possible futures. For more information, please visit www.childrensrights.org.

The National Center for Youth Law: The National Center for Youth Law is a nonprofit law firm that helps low-income children achieve their potential by transforming the public agencies that serve them. For more information, please visit www.youthlaw.org.

Kansas Appleseed: Kansas Appleseed is a statewide advocacy organization dedicated to the belief that Kansans, working together, can build a more thriving, inclusive, and just state. Kansas Appleseed works with community partners to understand the root causes of problems, support strong grassroots coalitions, and advocate for comprehensive solutions so all Kansans can reach their full potential. When necessary, Kansas Appleseed pursues impact litigation to protect Kansans’ rights and wellbeing. For more information please visit www.kansasappleseed.org.

DLA Piper LLP: DLA Piper is a global law firm with lawyers located in more than 40 countries throughout the Americas, Europe, the Middle East, Africa and Asia Pacific, positioning us to help clients with their legal needs around the world. In certain jurisdictions, this information may be considered attorney advertising. For more information, visit www.dlapiper.com.