After six years of fighting on behalf of Arizona’s children in foster care, a federal judge granted final approval of a class-action settlement that will improve the lives of Arizona’s foster children. The settlement requires significant improvements in care and services for the 13,500 children in Arizona’s system, as well as all future foster children.
The settlement targets four primary areas of reform:
- Providing children in foster care effective and prompt access to behavioral health services
- Making sure that foster children receive necessary medical and dental care
- Increasing the number of children placed in family-like settings and reducing the use of group homes
- Better management of caseloads so DCS workers can give their attention to the children and families in their care
Fulfilling the requirements of the settlement will take time, ACLPI attorney Anne Ronan told the Arizona Republic. “But the goal is not just about numbers, it’s about improving quality,” she continued.
For example, the agreement not only requires that the children receive the behavioral health services they need, but also that the services are effective.
The Center has been proud to represent the state’s foster children alongside lawyers from Perkins Coie and Children’s Rights, a New York-based advocacy group.