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Advocacy Organizations File Amicus Briefs Urging Federal Appeals Court to Overturn Ohio District Court Ruling, Provide Federally Required Payments for Relative Foster Parents

Contact: Camilla Jenkins, cjenkins@childrensrights.org, 917-971-1784

(Cincinnati, OH) – A number of national and Ohio-based advocacy organizations have filed Amicus Briefs in support of plaintiffs in the class action lawsuit, H.C. v. DeWine. The lawyers for the plaintiff foster children and their relative foster parents, Richard F. Dawahare, Jay Langenbahn, the law firm DLA Piper LLP, and Children’s Rights have filed a brief urging the US Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit to reverse a district court’s dismissal of the case earlier this year. H.C. v. DeWine, filed in November 2020, argues that Ohio is violating federal law by refusing to pay approved relative foster parents—often grandparents—the same financial support it pays licensed non-relative foster parents. In July 2021, a district court dismissed the case, holding that the named plaintiffs did not have a claim under federal law.

Eleven national and seven Ohio-based child welfare organizations have now filed Amicus Briefs in support of Plaintiffs’ position. The national brief was filed by the Children’s Defense Fund, Annie E. Casey Foundation, Child Welfare League of America, Children’s Advocacy Institute, First Focus on Children, FosterClub, Generations United, Juvenile Law Center, National Foster Youth Institute, National Indian Child Welfare Association, and Think of Us. The Ohio brief was filed by the Ohio Grandparent Kinship Coalition, Ohio Family Care Association, Children’s Defense Fund-Ohio, Policy Matters Ohio, Ohio Federation of Health Equity and Social Justice, Northeast Ohio Black Health Coalition, and the B.R.E.A.D. Organization.

Eric Thompson, Of Counsel, Children’s Rights, issued the following statement in response to the filing of the Amicus Briefs:

“These additional briefs in support illustrate how denying approved relative foster parents the same essential resources that licensed foster parents receive to provide foster children with the most basic needs, like food, clothing, and healthcare is not only unlawful, but also harmful. Further, the failure to provide these lawfully required foster care payments compounds racial inequities and places an unequal and unfair burden on Black children, who are overrepresented in Ohio’s foster care system. We look forward to vindicating Plaintiffs’ federal entitlement to these payments that the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals has already recognized in a previous case.”

For more information on H.C. v. DeWine, please visit www.childrensrights.org/class_action/ohio.

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