U.S. District Judge Denies Texas’ Attempt to Stall Foster Care Reforms

(Houston, TX) – Today, Senior U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack denied Texas’ motion to stay her December ruling that declared the state must make targeted changes to its foster care system. In response, Paul Yetter, lead trial lawyer for the plaintiffs in M.D. v. Perry, issued the following statement:

“The district court was right to deny the state’s request for a stay. Until DFPS is fixed, children will be harmed by the very system meant to protect them. We are ready to move the reform process forward without delay.”

Children’s Rights and Texas co-counsel Haynes and Boone, LLP and Yetter Coleman LLP brought M.D. v. Perry in 2011 on behalf of 12,000 children in permanent foster care, or permanent managing conservatorship (PMC). Following a two-week trial in December 2014, Judge Jack ruled on December 17, 2015 in favor of plaintiff children, noting the state put kids at risk because of high caseloads, dangerous foster group homes, inadequate investigations into abuse and neglect reports and a lack of placement options. The decision allowed 30 days for the court to hold a hearing to select an “independent Special Master,” and stated that within 180 days of selecting the “Special Master,” that person would present an “Implementation Plan to reform Texas’s foster care system.” Last week, the state filed a notice of appeal as well as a motion to stay in response to Judge Jack’s ruling.