Wisconsin Poised to Achieve Compliance with Reform Plan that Overhauls Milwaukee Child Welfare System

BMCW officials released from all but one court-ordered reform measure

(Milwaukee, WI) — Today state reviewers issued a report tracking the continued progress of The Wisconsin Bureau of Milwaukee Child Welfare (BMCW) in reforming its child welfare system — an effort launched by national advocacy group Children’s Rights.

Based on this new data, covering Settlement Agreement measures for the first half of 2012 in the federal class action lawsuit known as Jeanine B. v. Walker, the Bureau has been released from one of the two remaining enforceable measures. In response to the report, Eric Thompson, senior litigation counsel for Children’s Rights, issued the following statement:

“Wisconsin continues to prove that it has the determination and commitment to continually improve its child welfare system in Milwaukee. The Bureau is now within a stone’s throw of a complete overhaul, with only one remaining settlement provision unmet. BMCW now meets the reform plan’s performance standard that requires 71 percent of reunifications with their parents be within 12 months of the children’s entry into out-of-home care — which is markedly higher than its performance of 45 percent in 2003.”

“This dramatic difference shows that with adequate resources and attention, child welfare systems can improve to take into account the best interests of children in state care. BMCW must now redouble efforts to tackle its last remaining requirement: to lower the number of times kids are shuffled among placements during their stays in foster care. We are confident that BMCW can achieve full compliance with the reform plan.”

For more information about Children’s Rights ongoing campaign to reform the Milwaukee child welfare system, please visit the Wisconsin Class Action Page.