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Case Name Roe v. Staples CW-OH-0001
Docket / Court 1:83-cv-01704 ( S.D. Ohio )
State/Territory Ohio
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Attorney Organization Legal Services/Legal Aid
Case Summary
Plaintiff, a child in foster care represented by a legal aid attorney, brought suit in 1983 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against the Hamilton County Department of Human Services (HCDHS) and the Ohio Department of Human Services (ODHS) alleging violations of the ... read more >
Plaintiff, a child in foster care represented by a legal aid attorney, brought suit in 1983 in U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio against the Hamilton County Department of Human Services (HCDHS) and the Ohio Department of Human Services (ODHS) alleging violations of the Fourteenth Amendment and the Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act of 1980, 42 U.S.C. § 670 et seq. The complaint claimed that children in foster care and their parents did not receive proper pre-removal and reunification services. We have very few documents related to this case.

In August 1984, the court certified a class, and the parties began extensive discovery. Meanwhile, the court denied the plaintiff's motion for partial summary judgment and injunctive relief against the county defendants. The parties were proceeding towards trial, but they entered into a consent decree on August 26, 1986.

The consent decree required HCDHS to develop case plans for each child in its custody; to provide procedural protections for parents; to ensure parent-child visitation was available; to provide reunification services to children and families; and to conduct a needs assessment of the agency. In a separate consent decree with ODHS, the benefits of the settlement with Hamilton County were extended statewide. Furthermore, ODHS committed to issue regulations to improve program standards for children's service agencies.

In February 1990, the plaintiffs moved for an order of contempt against the state for noncompliance. Subsequently, the state provided a corrective action plan in December 1990. In November 1991, the court appointed an expert panel to oversee the state defendant's compliance with the settlement.

In August 1992, the county entered a modified consent judgment. In May 1998, the court found that the county met the conditions of the consent judgment, and therefore the court terminated the consent judgment.

The state implemented a Child Protection Oversight and Evaluation (CPOE) system in 2000; the court suspended some measures of the consent decree while the state implemented CPOE. In 2002, the state moved to modify the consent judgment. In response, the court directed the parties to mediation and appointed an expert panel to report on the progress of the mediation. In April 2006, the Court ended the appointment of the expert panels and required the parties to submit an amended consent decree. In July 2006, the parties provided the amendments. The court ordered the Ohio Department of Jobs and Family Services to provide continuing on-site monitoring of the county agency. Additionally, the court ordered compliance with 45 C.F.R. 1357.15 through the completion of statewide needs assessments. An expert monitored compliance with the consent decree. In 2007, the court awarded attorneys' fees and costs to the plaintiffs. Even though the consent decree provides for ongoing monitoring of compliance efforts, there have been no docket entries since early 2007.

Elizabeth Homan - 12/02/2012


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Content of Injunction
Hire
Implement complaint/dispute resolution process
Monitoring
Other requirements regarding hiring, promotion, retention
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Adoption
Failure to supervise
Failure to train
Family reunification
Foster care (benefits, training)
Juveniles
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Relative caretakers
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Timeliness of case assignment
Visiting
Youth / Adult separation
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action Adoption Assistance Program, 42 U.S.C. § 670 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Hamilton County
Ohio
Plaintiff Description Children in foster care who did not receive proper pre-removal and reunification services.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Legal Services/Legal Aid
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Attorneys fees
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Settlement
Form of Settlement Confession of Judgment
Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year 2007
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
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Case Studies Legal Accountability in the Service-Based Welfare State: Lessons from Child Welfare Reform
By: Kathleen G. Noonan, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon (Center for High Impact Philanthropy , Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School)
Citation: 34 Law & Soc. Inquiry 523 (Summer 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Making Child Welfare Work: How the R.C. Lawsuit Forged New Partnerships to Protect Children and Sustain Families
By: Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law (Bazelon Center)
Citation: (1998)
[ Detail ]

Docket(s)
1:83-cv-1704 (S.D. Ohio) 01/11/2007
CW-OH-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Order 04/20/2006 (S.D. Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Agreed Order 07/26/2006 (S.D. Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Agreed Order for the Payment of (1) Expert Fees and Costs and (2) Plaintiffs' Attorneys Fees and Costs 01/11/2007 (S.D. Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Spiegel, S. Arthur (S.D. Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-0001 | CW-OH-0001-0002 | CW-OH-0001-0003 | CW-OH-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers O'Hara, Michael J. (Kentucky)
CW-OH-0001-0002 | CW-OH-0001-0003 | CW-OH-0001-9000
Wassermann, Frank Joseph (Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Appel, Henry G (Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-0003 | CW-OH-0001-9000
Espinoza, David Joseph (Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-0002 | CW-OH-0001-9000
Harper, James Warren (Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-9000
Schwepe, Alan Paul (Ohio)
CW-OH-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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