Resource: LaShawn A. v. Gray

By: Children's Rights

December 17, 2010

Children's Rights

Children’s Rights, along with co-counsel ACLU of the Nation’s Capital, filed this case against the Mayor of the District of Columbia, the Director of the D.C. Department of Human Services (DHS), and various officials within DHS on behalf of children in foster care or known to the D.C. child welfare system because of reported abuse or neglect. The Complaint alleged violations of the plaintiffs’ statutory rights under the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, the D.C. Prevention of Child Abuse and Neglect Act of 1977, the Child Abuse Prevention and Treatment Act, the D.C. Youth Residential Facilities Licensure Act of 1986, and the plaintiffs’ constitutional rights to due process under the Fifth Amendment. Following a trial, the Court ruled in favor of the plaintiffs, acknowledging the constitutional and statutory deficiencies of the Washington, D.C. child welfare system, and ordered reforms to be undertaken. The defendants appealed, but the Court of Appeals upheld Judge Hogan’s opinion.