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Case Name B.K. v. McKay CW-AZ-0002
Docket / Court 2:15-cv-00185 ( D. Ariz. )
State/Territory Arizona
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Attorney Organization Children's Rights, Inc.
Case Summary
On February 3, 2015, minors in the custody of the Arizona foster care system filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The plaintiffs sued the Arizona Department of Child Safety, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Arizona Health Care Cost ... read more >
On February 3, 2015, minors in the custody of the Arizona foster care system filed this lawsuit in the United States District Court for the District of Arizona. The plaintiffs sued the Arizona Department of Child Safety, the Arizona Department of Health Services, and the Arizona Health Care Cost Containment System under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The plaintiffs, represented by Children’s Rights, Inc., the Arizona Center for Law in the Public Interest, and private counsel, asked the court for class certification and both declaratory and injunctive relief. The plaintiffs claimed that the defendants have violated their due process rights and right to familial integrity under the Constitution and provisions of the federal Medicaid Act. Specifically, the plaintiffs claimed that certain child welfare policies and practices exposed them to physical and emotional harm and unreasonable risk of harm while in the State’s care.

Over the past several years, Arizona has experienced a dramatic increase in the number of children in state foster care, nearly doubling from 2003 to 2012. This growth has been fueled by extensive state budget cuts to important support services that had previously helped keep families together. The plaintiffs allege that these cuts resulted in problematic policies and institutional issues in Arizona, including: a severe shortage of physical, mental, and behavioral health services available to children in state care; a widespread failure to conduct timely investigations of reports that children have been maltreated while in state custody; and severe and sustained shortage of family foster homes. Furthermore, there is a widespread failure to engage in basic child welfare practices aimed at maintaining family relationships, such as placing siblings together, placing children with their biological parents on a trial reunification basis, coordinating visits between children and their biological families, and having caseworkers make regular visits with the children’s biological parents to monitor progress toward family reunification. Due to these problems, children are frequently placed far from their home communities, forced to change schools, separated from their siblings, and do not receive the mental and physical health care that they require.

On September 29, 2015, the Court (Judge Roslyn O. Silver) denied the defendants’ motion to abstain and dismiss due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction. Tinsley v. McKay, No. CV-15-00185-PHX-ROS, 2015 WL 9690914 (D. Ariz. Sept. 29, 2015).

As of April 17, 2016, discovery is ongoing.

Katrina Fetsch - 04/16/2016


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Adoption
Classification / placement
Education
Emergency shelter
Failure to supervise
Family abuse and neglect
Family reunification
Foster care (benefits, training)
Juveniles
Parents (visitation, involvement)
Placement in shelters
Relative caretakers
Siblings (visitation, placement)
Staff (number, training, qualifications, wages)
Suicide prevention
Totality of conditions
Visiting
Youth / Adult separation
Medical/Mental Health
Dental care
Medical care, general
Mental health care, general
Self-injurious behaviors
Suicide prevention
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Title XIX of the Social Security (Medicaid) Act, 42 U.S.C §1396
Defendant(s) Arizona
Plaintiff Description Children who are or will be placed in Arizona state foster care custody following reports that they have suffered child abuse or neglect.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Children's Rights, Inc.
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Pending
Prevailing Party None Yet / None
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief None yet
Source of Relief None yet
Form of Settlement None on record
Order Duration not on record
Case Closing Year n/a
Case Ongoing Yes
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)
2:15-cv-00185-ROS (D. Ariz.) 03/31/2016
CW-AZ-0002-9001.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Request for Class Action 02/03/2015
CW-AZ-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Second Amended Complaint for Injunctive and Declaratory Relief and Request for Class Action 06/08/2015
CW-AZ-0002-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 09/29/2015 (2015 WL 9690914) (D. Ariz.)
CW-AZ-0002-0002.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Silver, Roslyn O. (D. Ariz.)
CW-AZ-0002-0002 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Beauchamp, Keith (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-0001 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Davis, Julia L. (New York)
CW-AZ-0002-0001 | CW-AZ-0002-0003 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Desai, Roopali H. (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-0001 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Hogan, Timothy Michael (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-0001 | CW-AZ-0002-0003 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Kapell, William (New York)
CW-AZ-0002-0001 | CW-AZ-0002-0003 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Luciano, Adriana Teresa (New York)
CW-AZ-0002-0003 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Mais, Joseph E. (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-0003 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Nili, Rachel Brodin (New York)
CW-AZ-0002-0003 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Ronan, Anne (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-0001 | CW-AZ-0002-0003 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Swindle, Shane R. (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-0003 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Tolman, Shelley (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-0001 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Defendant's Lawyers Acedo, Nicholas Daniel (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
Bojanowski, Timothy J (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
Ellman, Robert Lawrence (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
Johnston, Logan T. (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Lento, Gary N. (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
McBride, Melanie Grace (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
Plumb, Catherine Dodd (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Struck, Daniel Patrick (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
Weinzweig, David Daniel (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001 | CW-AZ-0002-9001
Wieneke, Kathleen L (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
Zimmerman, Joshua Robert (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
Zoellner, Tara B. (Arizona)
CW-AZ-0002-9001
Other Lawyers None on record

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