University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
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Case Name Brazwell v. Wagner CW-CA-0006
Docket / Court docket unknown ( State Court )
State/Territory California
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Attorney Organization National Center for Youth Law
Case Summary
On March 23, 2010, the National Center for Youth Law, the Alliance for Children's Rights, and private counsel filed this state court lawsuit representing children who receive benefits through California's Kin-GAP program, which provides cash assistance and Medi-Cal to foster children living with ... read more >
On March 23, 2010, the National Center for Youth Law, the Alliance for Children's Rights, and private counsel filed this state court lawsuit representing children who receive benefits through California's Kin-GAP program, which provides cash assistance and Medi-Cal to foster children living with relatives as their legal guardians. The program was created in 1999 by the California Legislature to encourage family members to care for youth who had been removed from their parents by the dependency courts. The suit challenged the state's interpretation of the Kin-GAP statute in denying benefits to these children.

The plaintiff, EB, is now a teenager, but was placed with his grandmother when he was in foster care as a young boy. Eventually, his foster care case was dismissed and his grandmother became his legal guardian. After he was arrested, the state terminated his Kin-GAP benefits when they learned he was in juvenile hall, and refused to reinstate them even when he returned home to his grandmother on probation. They required that the delinquency court's "wardship" be dismissed before reinstatement of Kin-GAP benefits. Because EB was on probation, he still had an open wardship.

The suit alleged that the California Department of Social Services misinterpreted the Kin-GAP statute and had unlawfully terminated Kin-GAP for foster youth who later became involved with the delinquency system, often for minor offenses, and then returned home on probation to their guardian.

On November 22, 2010, California Superior Court Judge Frank Roesch ruled for the plaintiffs. Once children who have been arrested are returned home on probation, relative caregivers are entitled to cash assistance.

Soojin Cha - 06/05/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
General
Foster care (benefits, training)
Juveniles
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Relative caretakers
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action None on record
Defendant(s) California Department of Social Services
Plaintiff Description Plaintiff is a relative caregiver of a child whose entitlement to state benefit to provide care for the child was wrongfully terminated by the California Department of Social Services.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations National Center for Youth Law
Class action status sought No
Class action status granted Moot
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Litigation
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
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)
No docket sheet currently in the collection
General Documents
Complaint 03/23/2010
CW-CA-0006-0001.pdf | Detail
Opinion 11/22/2010
CW-CA-0006-0002.pdf | Detail
Judges Roesch, Frank Court not on record
CW-CA-0006-0002
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers None on record
Defendant's Lawyers Martyna, Bryn (California)
CW-CA-0006-0001
Quraishi, Fiza A (California)
CW-CA-0006-0001
Other Lawyers None on record

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