It’s common knowledge that the foster care system in America has problems. So, instead of waiting for legislation or other improvement that seems to never come, some affected by the system have decided to take matters into their own hands. One goal of these cases is compensation for the victims, but another is meaningful reform. We will look at some examples in this section.
A Suit Is Being Brought against LA County to Provide Support for Those Transitioning out of Foster Care
In California, six complainants allege that they didn’t receive the transition support required per state and federal laws to help them move from foster care to independent living. The transition age for foster children is between 16 and 21, and it can be very difficult to bridge that gap without assistance. There is also a higher than average occurrence of mental health care needed in the foster care population that was allegedly not provided. They are seeking improvements to the system to ensure that the appropriate services are provided for young people transitioning out of foster care.
A Former Ward of the System Is Suing the Department of Human Services in Oregon
Like many states, if parents in Oregon are unable to care for a child due to a variety of circumstances, emergency custody can be awarded to a relative or other individual that can prove a close relationship with the child. However, if no suitable person is identified, the child will remain in or be returned to foster care. This is an unfortunately frequent situation. One such person that entered the Oregon foster care system as a baby is alleging that the department performed inadequate screening of foster families, and neglected to provide appropriate oversight which left her in abusive situations. She is not only seeking compensation for her trauma, but also seeking full access to the records that will allow her to identify her abusers.
Advocates in Maryland Seeking Reform to How Medication Is Prescribed to Foster Youth
Children’s rights groups in Maryland are alleging a disproportionately high rate of psychotropic drug prescriptions for foster children without a proper diagnosis that would warrant such strong medication. The responsible agencies failed to follow federal laws and their own policies regarding diagnosis and consent around these types of medications, and the lawsuit hopes to bring about accountability and adherence to these procedures that are in place to protect children.
These types of family law-oriented lawsuits have been happening for years, and many have resulted in reform. Even those that were dismissed or only requested compensation helped to shine a light on the shortcomings of the foster care system. It can be difficult to manage the ever growing need for children’s services, and the more awareness that is brought to the issues, the more help that can be provided. Be that by legislation, community support, or even more stable families bringing children into their homes; every little bit helps.