Case: Brazwell v. Wagner

California state trial court

Filed Date: March 23, 2010

Clearinghouse coding complete

Case Summary

On March 23, 2010, the National Center for Youth Law, the Alliance for Children's Rights, and private counsel filed this state court lawsuit representing children who receive benefits through California's Kin-GAP program, which provides cash assistance and Medi-Cal to foster children living with relatives as their legal guardians. The program was created in 1999 by the California Legislature to encourage family members to care for youth who had been removed from their parents by the dependency …

On March 23, 2010, the National Center for Youth Law, the Alliance for Children's Rights, and private counsel filed this state court lawsuit representing children who receive benefits through California's Kin-GAP program, which provides cash assistance and Medi-Cal to foster children living with relatives as their legal guardians. The program was created in 1999 by the California Legislature to encourage family members to care for youth who had been removed from their parents by the dependency courts. The suit challenged the state's interpretation of the Kin-GAP statute in denying benefits to these children.

The plaintiff, EB, is now a teenager, but was placed with his grandmother when he was in foster care as a young boy. Eventually, his foster care case was dismissed and his grandmother became his legal guardian. After he was arrested, the state terminated his Kin-GAP benefits when they learned he was in juvenile hall, and refused to reinstate them even when he returned home to his grandmother on probation. They required that the delinquency court's "wardship" be dismissed before reinstatement of Kin-GAP benefits. Because EB was on probation, he still had an open wardship.

The suit alleged that the California Department of Social Services misinterpreted the Kin-GAP statute and had unlawfully terminated Kin-GAP for foster youth who later became involved with the delinquency system, often for minor offenses, and then returned home on probation to their guardian.

On November 22, 2010, California Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled for the plaintiffs. Once children who have been arrested are returned home on probation, relative caregivers are entitled to cash assistance.

Summary Authors

Soojin Cha (6/5/2016)

People


Judge(s)

Roesch, Frank (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Martyna, Bryn (California)

Quraishi, Fiza A (California)

Judge(s)

Roesch, Frank (California)

Attorneys(s) for Defendant

Martyna, Bryn (California)

Quraishi, Fiza A (California)

Documents in the Clearinghouse

Document

Complaint

California state supreme court

March 23, 2010 Complaint

Opinion

California state supreme court

Nov. 22, 2010 Order/Opinion

Resources

Title Description External URL

Brazwell v. Wagner

National Center for Youth Law

This case challenged California’s policy of denying cash assistance to relative caregivers when the children they care for get in trouble with the law and are returned home on probation. Nov. 22, 2010 https://youthlaw.org/case/brazwell-v-wagner/

Docket

Last updated May 11, 2022, 8 p.m.

Docket sheet not available via the Clearinghouse.

State / Territory: California

Case Type(s):

Child Welfare

Key Dates

Filing Date: March 23, 2010

Case Ongoing: No

Plaintiffs

Plaintiff Description:

Plaintiff is a relative caregiver of a child whose entitlement to state benefit to provide care for the child was wrongfully terminated by the California Department of Social Services.

Plaintiff Type(s):

Private Plaintiff

Attorney Organizations:

National Center for Youth Law

Public Interest Lawyer: Yes

Filed Pro Se: No

Class Action Sought: No

Class Action Outcome: Not sought

Defendants

California Department of Social Services (Alameda), State

Case Details

Availably Documents:

Complaint (any)

Injunctive (or Injunctive-like) Relief

Any published opinion

Outcome

Prevailing Party: Plaintiff

Nature of Relief:

Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement

Source of Relief:

Litigation

Form of Settlement:

Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree

Content of Injunction:

Preliminary relief granted

Issues

General:

Foster care (benefits, training)

Juveniles

Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)

Relative caretakers