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Will an Ongoing Lawsuit Help Solve New York’s Foster Care Problem?

Earlier this summer, the Office of the New York City Public Advocate and 10 different children in foster care centers filed a class-action lawsuit against the New York City Administration for Children’s Services (ACS), the New York State Office of Children and Family Services and the OCFS’s acting commissioner. It’s the latest effort from public officials to address what many believe to be a flaw in the foster care system that has existed for decades.

The lawsuit followed the release of a new policy report on the shortcomings of the foster care system. Though the ACS has made some effort to improve the system, the plaintiffs in the suit allege it is still putting thousands of children in danger because it is not providing them with the level of services and fitting placements they need. The complaint points to “longstanding systemic deficiencies” as being the primary reason why children have struggled in the city’s foster care system.

A failure to act

One executive from A Better Childhood, a children’s advocacy group representing the 10 children who joined the suit, said the state and city have known about the deficiencies in the system for a long time and have failed to take necessary corrective action to resolve them. The 111-page lawsuit contains a number of troubling allegations, including claims that children are not being placed in good homes because caseworkers simply are not trying hard enough. Additionally, the claim outlines numerous incidents of children being neglected or abused in foster care and showing signs of severe emotional trauma.

 

A representative from the OCFS said the agency will not issue any comments on pending litigation.

 

Depending how this case turns out, it could have a big impact on foster care and custody laws in New York. For further legal guidance on this issue, speak with a knowledgeable attorney at Jakubowski, Robertson, Maffei, Goldsmith & Tartaglia, LLP.

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