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. [...]
[...] Unlike typical lawsuits though, the aim of Children's Rights, Inc., and many other child advocacy organizations in moving forward with such class- action litigation isn't to seek monetary compensation from the state or other body running the child welfare system. The goal is rather to push for specific reforms to the system, whether it be increasing the number of employees in order to better be able to serve the numbers of children within the child welfare system, or increasing funding for resources, such as training, computer databases for keeping track of the children within the system and specific details of their individual cases and situations. [...]
[...] This controversy was in part due to past actions taken by the state to improve the child welfare system, and the opinion of many groups and individuals that initiating litigation against a child welfare system was both taking resources away from the children that the child welfare system is trying to protect, and costing the state valuable time which could be better spent, at least in part, by working to improve conditions. The lawsuit brought by Children's Rights, Inc. the following year was viewed by some as an unnecessary expense. [...]
[...] On Saturday, January a visitor to the home found two boys, Raheem and Tyrone Williams, under a bed in the basement. The children reeked of urine, feces, and vomit, and both were malnourished, dehydrated, and their heads were crawling with lice. The police were notified, and the two boys were promptly removed from the home. They had been living in the house under the care of their mother's cousin, who wasn't home at the time the boys were found. The following day Raheem told the authorities that he also had a twin brother who had been living in the house. [...]
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