Tinsley v. Flanagan

Even as Arizona has taken steps to reduce the enormous backlog of reports that children have been maltreated in their own homes, it has disregarded other destructive practices that expose abused and neglected children to “further physical and emotional harm and unreasonable risk of harm while in the State’s care,” according to a federal class-action lawsuit that 10 plaintiff children filed on February 3, 2015 on behalf of the more than 16,000 children in state foster care.

The suit, which names Charles Flanagan, director of the Department of Child Safety (DCS), and William Humble, director of the Department of Health Services (DHS) as defendants, alleges a severe shortage of health care services, an acute lack of foster homes, a failure to preserve family ties once children are in foster care, and a failure to conduct timely investigations into reports that children have been maltreated while in state care.

The plaintiffs, who filed the suit in the Phoenix Division of the U.S. District Court for the District of Arizona, are being represented by the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, Perkins Coie and national advocacy organization Children’s Rights.

On September 30, 2015, Judge Silver denied the defendants' Motion to Dismiss.  Her ruling is available below.