Judith Meltzer, Rachel Molly Joseph, Andy Shookhoff
This document from the Center for the Study of Social Policy contains a series of papers examining the use of class action litigation to reform public child welfare systems.
While class action litigation has been used over the past 40 years to address difficult and longstanding problems with public child welfare systems, the results of these lawsuits have often been mixed, leading to divergent views on the costs and benefits of these efforts. This document from the Center for the Study of Social Policy contains a series of papers examining the use of class action litigation to reform public child welfare systems. The papers included in this report cover all stages of this type of litigation: the decision on whether or not to pursue litigation or pursue other reform strategies; the key elements of a negotiated settlement agreement or remedial court order; successful ways of assessing progress and monitoring compliance; and strategies for disengagement and exit from court oversight. The papers are a result of a series of conversations between individuals who have been involved with class action litigation aimed at reforming public child welfare systems and are aiming to improve the success of these efforts. The introductory section of this report includes two topics: a discussion of the significant and recurring themes that emerged from the papers, and a brief overview of each of the papers in the report. The papers themselves are divided into two areas: 1) papers that address a specific stage or aspect of child welfare litigation; and 2) papers that focus more deeply on specific cases from which the authors draw lessons based on their role and case experience.
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