TEXAS CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM HELD ACCOUNTABLE!
“The district court correctly found that the State was deliberately indifferent to a substantial risk of serious harm to the LFC [Licensed Foster Care] subclass, as a result of its insufficient monitoring and oversight, and that these deficiencies are a direct cause of the constitutional harm”
—From the decision of Judge Edith Clement, Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals
M.D. v. Perry, Civil Action No. 2:11-CV-84
The Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals has partially affirmed a lower court’s ruling that the Texas child welfare system violates children’s constitutional rights. The historic decision marks an important turning point in the seven-year battle to hold the state accountable and institute serious reforms in the state’s child welfare system.
ABC and our co-counsels, Yetter Coleman, LLP, Haynes and Boone, LLP, and Children’s Rights – which initially brought this lawsuit when the ABC Director, Marcia Lowry, was CR’s Executive Director— expect that this decision will improve the lives of nearly 12,000 children in Texas permanent foster care. Children will not be safe in Texas foster care until reforms are made!
Marcia Robinson Lowry, Executive Director of ABC and co-lead counsel on M.D. v. Perry, issued the following statement: “This is an incredibly important decision for children in foster care throughout the nation. The Fifth Circuit has upheld the right of children in foster care to be protected from a state’s ‘deliberate indifference’ to years of dangerously high caseloads and a lack of accountability in the monitoring of foster care services.”
The battle continues. The Court has ordered the state to make major changes, and has sent the case back to the district court judge to detail exactly what changes are necessary with regard to high caseloads and the state’s investigations of potential abuse of children in foster care, including abuse by other foster children, who themselves have been abused. The Fifth Circuit ruled that children are constitutionally entitled to safety while they are in the custody of the state, and the state of Texas has a long history of failing to provide that. ABC is dedicated to holding the state accountable.
Click here to read the historic full decision.
A Better Childhood, (ABC) is a national child welfare advocacy organization that represents foster children in dysfunctional child welfare systems. Lowry is the lead counsel in foster care lawsuits in Minneapolis, MN, Mississippi, New Jersey, Texas, New York City, and the District of Columbia.