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Placement Instability Thwarting Child Welfare Reform Effort in Milwaukee

Milwaukee, WI) – Today state reviewers issued a report tracking the progress of the Division of Milwaukee Child Protective Services (DMCPS) in reforming Milwaukee’s child welfare system in the first half of 2016, an effort spurred by national advocacy organization Children’s Rights. In response to the report, Eric Thompson, of counsel to Children’s Rights, issued the following statement:

“We applaud the Division for making critical progress in alleviating chronic case manager turnover and providing medical and dental care to foster youth. But the state has failed to reduce the number of placement moves children are subjected to while in state care, an issue that has long plagued the system. If Wisconsin is serious about reducing the trauma abused and neglected children experience, they must redouble their efforts to address this instability.”

Children’s Rights and co-counsel filed the federal class action known as Jeanine B. v. Walker in 1993, charging that the Milwaukee child welfare system was grossly mismanaged and failed to protect children in its care. After a state takeover, a court-supervised Settlement Agreement mandating an overhaul of the child welfare system was reached in 2002. State officials are continuing to implement an agreed-upon Corrective Action Plan aimed at bringing BMCW into full compliance with the requirements of the Settlement Agreement.