Lawsuit: Arizona Dept of Child Safety Endangered 17,000 Foster Children

Lawsuit: Arizona Dept of Child Safety Endangered 17,000 Foster Children

Susanne.Posel-Headline.News.Official- arizona.foster.care01_occupycorporatismSusanne Posel ,Chief Editor Occupy Corporatism | The US Independent
February 4, 2015

 

Local media in Arizona is reporting on a class-action lawsuit on behalf of 10 children filed in a US District Court which alleges that those children, who are currently in the Arizona foster care, have been subject to abuse at the hands of neglectful state officials.

The ages of the children in question range from 3 to 14.

Lawyers from the Arizona Center of Law in the Public Interest (ACLPI) have taken the case.

Kris Jacober, president of the Arizona Association for Foster and Adoptive Parents, commented : “Children are still sleeping in DCS offices because there is nowhere else for them. They’re not receiving timely or needed mental health services. The children in this lawsuit represent thousands with similar stories. The state can’t simply bring them into custody and provide for them on the fly.”

The suit states that specific members of the directors of the state departments of Health Services and Child Safety:

  • Neglects its duty to provide adequate health care for children in state custody.
  • Has a severe shortage of foster homes.
  • Fails to promptly investigate reports of neglect and abuse involving children in foster care.
  • Hampers efforts to maintain family relationships by separating siblings in foster care and not providing required parental visits.

Petitioners revealed that “the state is aware of these conditions”, using statistical data produced by the state to prove their point.

These allegations point to “a policy, pattern, custom and/or practice that shocks the conscience, is outside the exercise of any professional judgment, and amounts to deliberate indifference to the constitutionally-protected rights and liberty and privacy interests” of the children attached to the suit and all 17,000 children in Arizona state foster care.

In May of 2014, Arizona Governor Jan Brewer created “a new state agency to protect children” by “changing how caseworkers interact with families.”

According to the bill, responsibilities of “child-welfare” would be stripped of the Arizona Department of Economic Security “and places them in a separate agency that reports directly to the governor.”

However the creation of this “stand-alone agency” has not come quick enough to make accurate “risk-assessment analysis” regarding “criminal conduct and abuse cases” that have gone without proper investigation.

As of current estimations, Arizona has failed to fix problems that have deteriorated to the need for the class-action lawsuit.

Shockingly 3 quarters of the 6,600 reports of abuse and neglect made regarding children in foster care have “not been look at and resolved within the 60-day time frame required by law.”

In addition, “the state has also hindered efforts to keep families together” as outlined in the suit.


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