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Case Name Anderson v. Houstoun CW-PA-0001
Docket / Court 00-CV-04148-BWK ( E.D. Pa. )
State/Territory Pennsylvania
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Public Benefits / Government Services
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
This class action involving adult care givers, either relatives of the children or close friends of the children's parents, caring for Pennsylvania children whose parents are unable to provide care was filed on August 16, 2000, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. ... read more >
This class action involving adult care givers, either relatives of the children or close friends of the children's parents, caring for Pennsylvania children whose parents are unable to provide care was filed on August 16, 2000, in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The plaintiffs were represented by the Juvenile Law Center and ACLU; they sought declaratory and injunctive relief against the state for failing to provide for the financial needs of these children, claiming that the state violated Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 670, the Due Process and Equal Protection Clauses of the Fourteenth Amendment, and Pennsylvania state laws.

The complaint alleged that the state violated state and federal law by failing to meet the financial needs of these children. Specifically, the state failed to: notify the plaintiffs and other similarly situated caregivers ("kinship caregivers") of their right to apply for and receive per diem foster care benefits for the children in their care, process applications for foster care benefits from them and other kinship care givers, and reimburse them for the care of the dependent children placed in their homes at the same per diem rate as non-kinship foster care givers.

The plaintiffs filed for class certification on August 17, 2000. In late August of 2004, the plaintiffs filed a motion for preliminary approval of a proposed settlement agreement. After many amendments of the proposed class, the court finally granted the class certification for settlement purposes on October 29, 2004.

On April 1, 2005, the court approved and ordered the settlement agreement, in which, according to the plaintiff's website, the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare agreed to issue a bulletin clarifying the obligation of county youth agencies to treat caregivers similar to the plaintiffs, like all other foster parents. Additionally, the agreement included a notice to be provided to all kinship caregivers stating their rights to receive their legal benefits. The docket does not include any additional activity after the approval of the settlement.

Alice Liu - 01/27/2013


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Affected Gender
Female
Male
Benefit Source
Adoption Assistance and Child Welfare Act
Constitutional Clause
Due Process
Equal Protection
Content of Injunction
Auditing
Preliminary relief granted
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Foster care (benefits, training)
Funding
Juveniles
Payment for care
Public benefits (includes, e.g., in-state tuition, govt. jobs)
Relative caretakers
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Type of Facility
Government-run
Causes of Action Adoption Assistance Program, 42 U.S.C. § 670 et seq.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Defendant(s) Beaver County Children and Youth Services
Department of Human Services of the City of Philadelphia
Lancaster County Children and Youth Services
Monroe County Children and Youth Services
Montgomery County Children and Youth Services
Washington County Children and Youth Services
Plaintiff Description Plaintiffs, either relatives of the children or close friends of the children's parents, are adult care givers caring for children whose parents are unable to provide care. Named plaintiffs also include children in such care.
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2000 - 2005
Case Closing Year 2005
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)
2:00−cv−04148 (E.D. Pa.) 09/26/2005
CW-PA-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Second Amended Complaint 05/07/2004
CW-PA-0001-0001.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 05/07/2004 (E.D. Pa.)
CW-PA-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 10/29/2004 (E.D. Pa.)
CW-PA-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Document Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Order 04/01/2005 (E.D. Pa.)
CW-PA-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Judges Kauffman, Bruce William (E.D. Pa.)
CW-PA-0001-0003 | CW-PA-0001-0004 | CW-PA-0001-9000
Monitors/Masters None on record
Plaintiff's Lawyers Levick, Marsha (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-0001 | CW-PA-0001-9000
Walczak, Witold J. (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-0001
Defendant's Lawyers Brown, Sheryl L. (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Frey, William G. (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Gonzales, John P. (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Jones, Marie Millie (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Kessler, Alan C. (New Jersey)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Macmain, David J. (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Newcomer, Philip W. (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Patchen, Sherri Glantz (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Santarone, Joseph J. Jr (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Stauss, Timothy E. (New Jersey)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Wieand, Donald E. Jr (Pennsylvania)
CW-PA-0001-9000
Other Lawyers None on record

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