Resource: Anderson v. Houston

By: National Center for Youth Law

March 14, 2005

National Center for Youth Law

Plaintiffs filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of abused and neglected children in the care of relatives or close friends. The suit alleged that state and county officials, including the Department of Public Welfare; the Office of Children, Youth, and Families, Department of Health Services of Philadelphia; and Children and Youth Services in Lancaster, Monroe, Montgomery, Beaver, and Washington Counties, withheld tens of millions of dollars per year in federal benefit payments from grandparents, aunts, uncles, and others caring for the children of troubled relatives. Federal law mandated that states that receive federal foster care funds pay the same amount to all children living with foster parents, kin, and non-relatives alike. The law also encouraged states, where possible, to place foster children with relatives or friends of the children’s parents. The suit alleged that officials in some counties explicitly told foster parents that agencies were trying to eliminate kinship foster care payments and refused to provide funds. Other counties did not advise foster parents that they were entitled to such payments.