Nev., Mass., Sued over Child Welfare Troubles

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The National Center for Youth Law (NCYL) filed a lawsuit Tuesday against the child welfare systems for state of Nevada and for Clark County (Las Vegas), charging them with “deliberate indifference to the health and safety of the children [they are] obligated to protect.”

The NCYL said its lawsuits cite “blatant disregard of federal and state law,” as well as “substandard judgment, neglect and active indifference on the part of child welfare officials and caseworkers.”

Spokespersons for the state and county said they could not comment because they had not had a chance to review the lawsuit.

The suit, filed in U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, seeks unspecified damages for 13 children, along with system improvements. The state has 3,600 children in foster care.

In Boston, the child welfare advocacy group Children’s Rights filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court today charging that the state’s foster care system violates the constitutional rights of youth in its care. The allegations include abuse of children in foster homes, inadequate monitoring of foster homes and the shuttling of children among foster homes. 

The office of Gov. Deval Patrick issued a statement saying, “We have made great strides in reforming the Department of Children and Families and made significant improvements for children in and out of foster care.”