On July 20, 1976, children placed at the Children's Center in New York City filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the director of the Children's Center, along with administrators and the assistant commissioner ...
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On July 20, 1976, children placed at the Children's Center in New York City filed a class action lawsuit under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York against the director of the Children's Center, along with administrators and the assistant commissioner of the Department of Social Services. The class consisted of children who were placed at or were subject to placement at the Children's Center. The Legal Aid Society of the City of New York, Juvenile Rights Division represented the class. The plaintiffs sought declaratory and injunctive relief, alleging that the conditions at the Children's Center constituted cruel and unusual punishment, violated the right to be free from harm, violated the guarantee of due process under the Fourteenth Amendment, and violated various state statutes.
Children placed at the Children's Center were subjected to violent assaults, forced homosexual behavior, rapes, fights and beatings with knives, sticks, chains, glass and other weapons. The staff was inadequate to meet the needs of the children. The general opinion was that the Children's Center needed to be closed; several of the defendants had made public statements to the effect that the facility should be closed.
An interim consent order was entered by the District Court (Judge William C. Conner) on July 30, 1976. The consent order provided that the defendants were required to close the Children's Center on or before July 31, 1977, to use their best efforts to place the children who were or would be residents of the Children's Center in their own homes or in suitable alternative facilities and homes, and to place any residents with intellectual disabilities in suitable "off-city-bill" facilities within two weeks of the order, or two weeks of their placement in the Children's Center. Furthermore, the consent order provided that the Children's Center not exceed a population of 50, that at least one staff member be present in all spaces when more than one resident is present, that all staff members be awake at all times while they are on duty, that doors be affixed on toilet stalls and curtains on bath and shower stalls, and that no more than six children be placed in a room. The Legal Aid Society was to be given access to the facility, and to the records for children residing at the Children's Center.
The only information we have on this case is the complaint and the interim consent order.Kaitlin Corkran - 05/22/2006