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Wednesday, January 16, 2008

Foster-care lawyers dragging state back to court

Foster-care lawyers dragging state back to court

It's part of a landmark 1998 lawsuit that accused the state of bouncing foster kids between homes without adequate services. The state settled the lawsuit in 2004, and promised to make changes.

Lawyers say state is neglecting duty toward foster kids

Foster kids should get a visit from a caseworker every 30 days, but the state still lacks the staff to make that happen, Farris said. In extreme cases, some children have suffered beatings and abuse that such a visit could have detected.

Mental-health services for foster kids are still in short supply, with long waiting lists for treatment, Farris said. Kids with serious mental-health problems are too frequently placed with foster parents who have no idea what they are up against and no special training to handle the child’s problems.

About 70 percent of the state’s foster children have no high school diploma when they leave the foster care system at age 18, Farris said.

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