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Press Releases Texas

TEXAS DISTRICT COURT PROVIDES A CLEAR PATHWAY TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE (11.21.18)

TEXAS DISTRICT COURT PROVIDES A CLEAR PATHWAY TO KEEP CHILDREN SAFE

M.D. v. Perry, Civil Action No. 2:11-CV-84

Solidifying a recent victory in the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack has submitted her revised remedies to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. The order provides a clear pathway towards changes that will better protect children in the child welfare system.

Marcia Robinson Lowry, Executive Director of ABC and co-lead counsel on M.D. v. Perry, issued the following statement: “This is a thorough, careful set of remedies all supported by the circuit decision that will finally protect the constitutional rights of Texas children. It is a very important national precedent.”

Click here to read the full order.

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 Minnesota, Mississippi, New Jersey, Texas, New York City, and the District of Columbia.

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For more information, please contact:

A Better Childhood
media@abetterchildhood.org
844-422-2425

Categories
Press Releases Texas

TEXAS CHILD WELFARE SYSTEM HELD ACCOUNTABLE! (10.23.18)

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.

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For more information, please contact:

A Better Childhood
media@abetterchildhood.org
844-422-2425

Categories
Press Releases Texas

JUDGE RULES TEXAS HAS VIOLATED RIGHTS OF CHILDREN IN ITS FOSTER-CARE SYSTEM (12.17.15)

JUDGE RULES TEXAS HAS VIOLATED RIGHTS OF CHILDREN IN ITS FOSTER-CARE SYSTEM

M.D. v. Perry, Civil Action No. 2:11-CV-84

Texas’s foster care system is broken, and it has been that way for decades. It is broken for all stakeholders, including DFPS employees who are tasked with impossible workloads. Most importantly, though, it is broken for Texas’s PMC children, who almost uniformly leave State custody more damaged than when they entered.”

—From decision of Judge Janis Graham Jack, Senior U.S. District Judge of the Senior District of Texas, Corpus Christi Division (emphasis added)

Marcia Robinson Lowry, Executive Director of A Better Childhood and Co-Lead Counsel on M.D. v. Perry, issued the following statement on Judge Janis Graham Jack’s decision in that case finding the state of Texas has systematically violated the constitutional rights of children in the state’s foster-care system

“This is a stunning, historic decision, both for children in Texas and for children throughout the country. I have initiated, led, and supervised at least 20 foster-care lawsuits, and the conditions we found in the Texas foster-care system were among the most appalling I have ever seen. These horrendous conditions, combined with the utter lack of accountability and the state’s long-standing failure to even acknowledge these harms, let alone address them, have ruined the lives of far too many children.

“The court, in an extremely well-documented opinion, has examined in depth the structural deficiencies that led to the serious harm to children and then provides a court-enforceable remedy that will get to the heart of the problem. Judge Janis Graham Jack finds that ‘Because of the complexity and breadth of reforms that are required to bring DFPS in compliance with the Constitution, it would be impractical for the Court to craft and oversee each necessary change. As a more effective and flexible alternative, the Court will appoint an independent Special Master to help craft the reforms and oversee their implementation.’”

“We hope that Judge Jack’s decision finally marks a new day for the abused and neglected children of Texas, who have been some of the worst-treated foster children in the country. And we hope that the state will act immediately to correct the harms to children that the judge identified in her opinion. It is too bad that the state has been fighting so long and so hard to avoid facing up to what it has known for far too long—that Texas children have been unable to depend on the state to protect them and needed a federal court to step in and order it to do its job.”

A Better Childhood (ABC) is a national child-welfare advocacy organization that represents foster children in dysfunctional child welfare systems. In Texas, Executive Director Marcia Robinson Lowry is co-lead counsel along with Texas law firms Yetter Coleman and Haynes and Boone and with Children’s Rights. Lowry is also lead counsel in a federal class-action foster-care lawsuit against the New York City foster-care system that was filed this summer. She is also lead counsel in foster-care lawsuits in Mississippi, New Jersey, Oklahoma, and the District of Columbia.

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Memorandum Opinion and Verdict of the Court

For more information, please contact:

A Better Childhood
info@abetterchildhood.org
844-422-2425