Foster Care Lawsuit

A Win for Kansas Kids

A Victory for Kansas Kids in the Foster Care System

On July 8, 2020, Kansas officials and attorneys advocating for the rights of over 7,000 children in Kansas foster care agreed to an ambitious settlement plan. Our litigation would transform an overburdened, mismanaged, and dangerous foster care system that, for years, has victimized and traumatized the very Kansas children it is supposed to protect.

In the words of Teresa Woody, Litigation Director at Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice, “This is a moment that took far too long to arrive. But the children of Kansas have finally been heard. We became partners in this suit because it was clear that legal advocacy could bring change when all else had failed. That day has come.”

See the Settlement Agreement

What the Foster Care Litigation Accomplished

The settlement agreement was the result of the class action M.B. v. Howard (originally M.B. v. Colyer) brought in November 2018 against state officials on behalf of the state’s foster children. The plaintiff co-counsel team included:

  • Kansas Appleseed Center for Law and Justice
  • Kansas City attorney and Child Welfare Law Specialist, Lori Burns-Bucklew
  • The National Center for Youth Law
  • Children’s Rights, and the global law firm DLA Piper

The settlement brought fundamental changes to a child welfare system that has long been in crisis, subjecting already traumatized children to unprecedented housing instability that renders them essentially homeless and denying them vital mental health care services.

A System in Crisis

The settlement required structural changes and measurable outcomes, all directed to dramatically improve housing stability and mental health supports for children in DCF care:

Key Reforms

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