Last year a class action suit was filed in Texas on behalf of Texas foster children. The suit claimed that the civil rights of these children were being violated because the foster care system provides such poor care. On Thursday, December 17, a verdict was issued in favor of the Plaintiffs. In the written opinion, Judge Janis Jack (US Senior District Judge in Corpus Christi) made harsh remarks about the overall quality of foster care in Texas. She also refers to Foster Care Redesign as a failure.
Our Community Our Kids (OCOK) was just starting when the trial was occurring, so the Department of Family Protective Services (DFPS) was not able to reference ACH’s model as a successful example of Redesign. Despite this, ACH is working hard to make sure this distinction is clear to the public. Below is a link to an interview Dr. Wayne Carson, ACH's CEO, held with KERA on Friday, December 18, about the ruling and ACH’s belief in Redesign.
We hope this ruling will create a renewed sense of urgency to fully fund and replicate Redesign, and we remain 100% convinced that through Redesign we can meaningfully improve some of the issues that have plagued foster care in Texas. OCOK is keeping children closer to home and keeping them safe, two of the concerns outlined in the court opinion. There is certainly more work to be done, but we are making progress in areas that haven't changed in 20 years.