Houston Matters

Judge Orders Revamp of Texas Foster Care System to Continue

Last week (March 21, 2016), the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an attempt by the State of Texas to pause a revamp of its foster care system. That ruling leaves intact a December 2015 ruling by Judge Janis Graham Jack, who declared the system “broken” and unconstitutional. In ordering the overhaul, Judge Jack […]

Last week (March 21, 2016), the U.S. 5th Circuit Court of Appeals denied an attempt by the State of Texas to pause a revamp of its foster care system. That ruling leaves intact a December 2015 ruling by Judge Janis Graham Jack, who declared the system “broken” and unconstitutional. In ordering the overhaul, Judge Jack concluded foster children “almost uniformly leave state custody more damaged than when they entered.”

Judge Jack also appointed two Special Masters to oversee the system revamp. Francis McGovern and Kevin Ryan are expected to begin their appointed positions Friday (April 1, 2016).

We discuss the legal implications of the decision with Ellen Marrus, a research professor of law and the director of the Center for Children, Law and Policy at the University of Houston Law Center. We also hear from Dori Kornfeld Goldman, a partner with Houston-based law firm Yetter Coleman. In 2011, the firm filed a class action lawsuit on behalf of 12,000 foster children in Texas.

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