Child advocacy groups and class action lawsuits
- Introduction to child advocacy groups.
- The goals of child advocacy groups.
- Child advocacy groups and methods of obtaining goals.
- Individual litigation.
- Class-Action litigation.
- The governor's Blue Ribbon Panel on child protection.
- The Governor's Blue Ribbon Panel's first annual report:.
- Children's Rights, Inc. New Jersey history.
- Controversy regarding litigation against the state.
- The death of Faheem Williams.
- Consequences of Faheem's death.
- Requirements of the settlement.
- Appointment of an oversight panel.
- Approval of the State's plan.
- Failures of the State in the following years.
- Analysis and opinion of the effectiveness of the panel.
Children's Rights, Inc. is one organization dedicated to improving and reforming state-run child welfare systems, and ensuring that those state-run child welfare systems are held accountable for providing safe and adequate environments for the children under their care. Since the mid-nineties, when the federal government moved the bulk of the responsibility for child welfare systems to the states, numerous child advocacy groups have formed around the nation. These groups act as watchdog organizations, assessing and analyzing the states' child welfare systems, making recommendations for improvements, raising public awareness of various related issues, and involving themselves in class-action lawsuits against the state when other methods of reform attempts have failed.
[...] The allegations also included accounts of child abuse and child neglect, including beatings of the children, and even an incident where a child was purposely burned. The family had also been rumored to have substance abuse problems, and was believed to also be selling illegal substances from their home. Despite the fact that there had been so many allegations made against the family, the DYFS had no documentation to demonstrate that the numerous allegations had been considered as a whole. [...]
[...] Further requirements of the settlement were that the state spend an additional $ 1.5 million for the recruitment of more foster-care families, and provide for adequate training of those recruited families for dealing with children in the state's child welfare system. Not only would assessments be increased, it is believed that the "quality" of families and the number of families ready to care for foster children could be increased, reducing the need for greater numbers of assessments. Appointment of an Oversight Panel: Perhaps the most important components of the settlement, however, was the appointment of a new oversight panel, made up of child welfare system experts from around the country. [...]
[...] Analysis and Opinion of the Effectiveness of the Panel: While this is certainly a discouraging situation, and further reforms to the child welfare system in New Jersey are still needed to this day, it would be unrealistic to claim that the lawsuits undertaken by Children's Rights, Inc., as well as other children's advocacy groups in New Jersey and elsewhere were ineffectual. The appointment of independent citizen panels to oversee state-run organizations at the very least provides the public with annual reports outlining the progress of those organizations. [...]