9th Circuit Court Of Appeals: Arizona Department Of Child Safety Must Defend Foster Care Cases

By Howard Fischer, Capitol Media Services
Published: Saturday, April 27, 2019 - 3:03pm

The Arizona Department of Child Safety has to defend how it handles the more than 14,000 children in foster care now and all those who will be there in the future.

That’s the unanimous ruling Friday from the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals on a 2015 lawsuit that was originally filed on behalf of 10 children. Since 2017, the case has continued as a class-action lawsuit on behalf of all kids in the foster care system.

The lawsuit alleges, among other things, that DCS has failed to investigate reports that children in foster care have been maltreated.

Anne Ronan is with the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest and part of the legal team suing the state.

"It allows us to go forward with the case and prove the claim that the children who are in the foster care system are not receiving the services that they need to be successful and that they're not being placed in appropriate living arrangements and they're not being reunited with their families in an effective way."

The ruling does not force DCS to do anything, yet.

Instead, it sends the case back to U.S. District Court Judge Roslyn Silver who will hear evidence of the agency's practices.

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