On February 12, U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver granted final approval of a settlement agreement for B.K. v. Faust, a federal class action lawsuit filed on behalf of the more than 13,000 children in Arizona’s state foster care system. The settlement will require the Arizona Department of Child Safety (DCS) to improve access to health care services — including mental health care — monitor and address caseloads of case managers, and prioritize placing children in family homes rather than group homes.
The following statement was issued by Harry Frischer, Lead Counsel at Children’s Rights:
“This is an extraordinary victory for the children of Arizona. Children’s Rights couldn’t be prouder to have worked in partnership with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest and Perkins Coie to bring about meaningful improvements to the lives of thousands of children in state care. We look forward to working with the DCS to make progress toward keeping Arizona’s foster children safe and ensuring they can thrive.”
The agreement focuses on four main areas of reform:
- Quicker access to behavioral health services for children in foster care.
- Mandatory tracking on how many children receive required medical and dental care within 30 days of entering the system.
- Increases in the number of children placed in family-like settings, such as with relatives or foster parents, as opposed to group homes.
- Better manage caseloads so DCS workers get the time they need to properly work with the children and families in their care.
The settlement sets benchmarks and deadlines to achieve these goals, with the understanding that all actions will be completed no later than by the end of 2025. Read more about the case here.