DC Mayor Muriel Bowser announced the end of a three-decade-long court oversight and monitoring of the city’s Child and Family Services Agency (CFSA) as per the settlement in a 31-year-old class action lawsuit filed on behalf of children in the District’s foster care system.
All the parties in the lawsuit reached a settlement agreement, which was approved to be fair and reasonable on Tuesday by US District Court Judge Thomas Hogan through a virtual fairness hearing.
“This exit from court oversight recognizes our commitment to protecting our most vulnerable children and exemplifies our DC values,” Bowser said about the development. “It says that as a community, we’re dedicated to making sure our families get the services they need to keep their children safe and well. With a steadfast focus on family, love, and prevention, I am proud that CFSA has transformed into a national leader in the child welfare space.”
Good news: After 3 decades, a class action lawsuit finally concluded that was filed by children in the District's foster care system. It’s a critical step for the District & our most vulnerable residents abused & neglected children. Proud we helped @DCCFSA achieve this milestone.
— AG Karl A. Racine (@AGKarlRacine) June 1, 2021
The mayor thanked CFSA Director Brenda Donald and the agency’s staff for their commitment, and the Office of the Attorney General and the Plaintiff’s Counsel for their partnership.
“CFSA has proven that we are a self-regulating, self-correcting agency driven by data, quality, and evidence-based practice,” Donald said, adding that the District has made massive progress in child welfare reform.
DC Attorney General Karl Racine also released a statement, saying it was a critical step for DC and he was proud his office was able to help the agency “achieve this milestone.”
“Just in the past year and a half, my office has concluded two decades-long cases involving court administered reforms of District agencies – both of which centered around children – allowing the District to operate efficiently to protect and serve the District’s most vulnerable children,” Racine said. “The reforms at CFSA will help protect children, but the work isn’t done. The agency must continue providing robust in-home services whenever possible to help reduce the trauma and impact on children caused by removal from their families and placement in foster care.”