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Case Name M.B. v. Colyer CW-KS-0002
Docket / Court 2:18-cv-02617 ( D. Kan. )
State/Territory Kansas
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Attorney Organization Children's Rights, Inc.
National Center for Youth Law
Case Summary
In 2018, children in the Kansas foster care system filed a class-action suit against the Governor of Kansas, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. The named plaintiffs ... read more >
In 2018, children in the Kansas foster care system filed a class-action suit against the Governor of Kansas, the Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF), the Kansas Department of Health and Environment, and the Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services. The named plaintiffs allegedly experienced great hardship while involved in the Kansas foster care system, including dozens or even hundreds of moves, night-to-night changes, and starkly inadequate mental and behavioral diagnosis and treatment. The children involved in the foster care system often suffered from PTSD and other disorders that resulted from their housing displacement and did not receive the care they needed to cope with their conditions. One ten-year-old child was moved 70 times, including one three-month period where he was relocated to a new placement every night.

The plaintiffs sued under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and the Medicaid Act. Plaintiffs argued that their rights to substantive due process were being abridged by the Governor and the DCF secretary. Additionally, they argued that the defendants had failed to provide plaintiffs and class members with diagnostic screening and treatment for trauma-related disorders and mental and behavioral health conditions as required under the Medicaid Act. Finally, the plaintiffs alleged that the defendants failed to provide medically necessary behavioral and mental health services for members of the plaintiff class who required treatment for mental health conditions.

The case was initially assigned to Judge John W. Lungstrum, but he later recused himself and was replaced by Judge Daniel D. Crabtree.

On July 3, Judge Crabtree granted a motion to dismiss Governor Laura Kelly, holding that she was protected from litigation under 11th amendment immunity.

After trying but failing initially to reach an agreement through alternative dispute resolution process, the parties reached a settlement agreement in July 2020. The settlement included goals for practice improvements with changes that the state agencies would be required to meet during a 12-month-period and hold for a further 2-month period to exit court supervision. Under the agreement, the state will be required to end the practice of housing children in offices and hotels, the use of night-to-night and temporary placements, overcrowding at placements, and stop delays related to housing in the provision of mental healthcare. The settlement has federal court enforceability, requires a neutral expert to validate performance and compliance, and will implement a new community accountability structure.

Judge Crabtree signed a preliminary order approving the settlement and class status on September 9, 2020. The certified class consisted of "all children who are now, or in the future will be, in the protective custody of the Department for Children and families pursuant to Kan. Stat. Ann. § 38-2242(c)(1)."

As of October 25, the case remains open.

Gabrielle Simeck - 10/25/2020


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Issues and Causes of Action
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Issues
Benefit Source
Medicaid
Constitutional Clause
Due Process: Substantive Due Process
Defendant-type
Jurisdiction-wide
General
Foster care (benefits, training)
Juveniles
Neglect by staff
Medical/Mental Health
Mental health care, general
Mental Disability
Mental Illness, Unspecified
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Medicaid, 42 U.S.C §1396 (Title XIX of the Social Security Act)
Defendant(s) Kansas Department for Aging and Disability Services Secretary
Kansas Department for Children and Families
Kansas Department of Health and Environment
Kansas Governor
Plaintiff Description All children who are now, or in the future will be, in the protective custody of the Department for Children and families pursuant to Kan. Stat. Ann. § 38-22429(c)(1).
Indexed Lawyer Organizations Children's Rights, Inc.
National Center for Youth Law
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status outcome Granted
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Order Duration 2021 - 2024
Filed 11/16/2018
Case Ongoing Yes
Additional Resources
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  See this case at CourtListener.com (May provide additional documents and, for active cases, real-time alerts)
  M.B. V. Howard
National Center for Youth Law
Date: 2020
By: National Center for Youth Law
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

  Legal Accountability in the Service-Based Welfare State: Lessons from Child Welfare Reform
Date: Summer 2009
By: Kathleen G. Noonan, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon (Center for High Impact Philanthropy , Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School Faculty)
Citation: 34 Law & Soc. Inquiry 523 (Summer 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Court Docket(s)
D. Kan.
09/09/2020
2:18-cv-02617-DDC-GEB
CW-KS-0002-9000.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
D. Kan.
11/16/2018
Complaint-Class Action [ECF# 1]
CW-KS-0002-0001.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
09/06/2019
First Amended Complaint-Class Action [ECF# 63]
CW-KS-0002-0002.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
10/25/2019
Defendant's Motion to Dismiss Defendant Governor Laura Kelly [ECF# 79]
CW-KS-0002-0005.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
06/03/2020
Memorandum and Order [ECF# 118] (2020 WL 2914931)
CW-KS-0002-0006.pdf | WESTLAW | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
07/08/2020
Joint Stipulation of Partial Dismissal of Named Plaintiffs V.A., M.J., R.R., and B.B. [ECF# 132]
CW-KS-0002-0007.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
D. Kan.
07/08/2020
Settlement Agreement [ECF# 133-1]
CW-KS-0002-0003.pdf | External Link | Detail
Source: Public.Resource.Org
D. Kan.
09/09/2020
Order Granting Settlement Class, Granting Preliminary Approval of Settlement Agreement, Setting Hearing, and Approving Form and Manner of Class Notice [ECF# 140]
CW-KS-0002-0004.pdf | Detail
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
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Judges Birzer, Gwynne E. Court not on record [Magistrate] show/hide docs
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Crabtree, Daniel Dale (D. Kan.) show/hide docs
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Plaintiff's Lawyers Burns-Bucklew, Loretta E. (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Diggs, William J (New Jersey) show/hide docs
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Dixon, Stephen (New York) show/hide docs
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Juneja, Poonam (California) show/hide docs
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Kane, Joshua (New York) show/hide docs
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King, Jonathan M (New York) show/hide docs
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Lustbader, Ira P. (New York) show/hide docs
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Magnuson, Arthur Benet (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Nardi, Marissa C (New York) show/hide docs
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Sager, David S (New Jersey) show/hide docs
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Woody, Teresa A (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Defendant's Lawyers Bradshaw, Jean Paul II (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Campbell, Terrence J. (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Day, Reid (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Depew, Dennis D (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Fries, Brian C (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Harse, Grant Allen (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Josserand, Carrie E (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Lawson, Corliss Scroggins (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Rogers, Matthew J (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Theisen, Catherine C (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Other Lawyers Cooper, David R (Kansas) show/hide docs
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Hatley, Heather (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Johannsen, Derek G (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Lawrence, James D (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Regier, Kathryn A (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Schultz, John G (Missouri) show/hide docs
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Uzelac, Danielle Marie (Missouri) show/hide docs
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