The governor of Tennessee says he’ll sign a bill giving faith-based adoption and foster care agencies legal cover to turn away same-sex couples and other prospective parents who offend the agencies’ religious beliefs. Christina Wilson Remlin, Lead Counsel for Children’s Rights, is quoted: “We vehemently oppose any move that would limit the number of safe and loving homes available to children who need and deserve them.”
Children’s Rights In the News
Kansas Gov. Laura Kelly (D) announced yesterday she will create a new agency that houses child welfare and juvenile justice services at the state level. Kansas has grappled with challenges in its foster care system, getting hit with a class-action lawsuit by the National Center for Youth Law, Children’s Rights and Kansas Appleseed prior to Kelly’s election. In October, Kelly asked to be removed from the suit, stating that she doesn’t actually oversee the state’s foster care system.
In this six-part series on the U.S. foster care system, our litigation director Ira Lustbader speaks on the “highly vulnerable kids in government custody” Children’s Rights protects: “Often, vulnerable poor families don’t have the money or the power to push back against government intervention…Families are ripped apart for poverty and not abuse.”
Executive Director Sandy Santana and Children’s Rights are featured in this article about Dontay Davis, who entered foster care in Texas at age 8 and was separated from his siblings, shuffled through several placements, placed in restrictive group homes, and experienced the hallmarks of the foster care to prison pipeline.
“With the growth of psychotropic medications prescribed for all sorts of mental health issues, we have fallen into a system where it is easier to give a child a pill than to be patient and engage in therapies.”
Missouri will have to overhaul how it monitors children in foster care on psychotropic drugs as part of a settlement agreement finalized this past week.
“There is no reason to wait more than two years to end this cruel and inhumane practice,” testified Daniele Gerard, a staff attorney at the nonprofit Children’s Rights speaking out on the need to end solitary confinement.
In an effort to meet reforms in the class action brought by Children’s Rights, the SC Social Services Department plans to ask state lawmakers next year to spend $126.9 million in the state’s upcoming budget to help, in part, raise salaries for child caseworkers and other staff.
US District Judge Janis Graham Jack has been the presiding judge on a lawsuit filed by a children’s rights organization in 2011. The suit alleges that the state of Texas, which has around 30,000 children in foster care on any given day, has stretched its resources and caseworkers too thin, placing children in perilous situations.
Speaking on the foster care to prison pipeline, Executive Director Sandy Santana calls this troubling trend “the criminalization of the behavior of children who have been traumatized.”