A national watchdog group suing Massachusetts over what it called a broken foster care system is set to file evidence that it says proves the state is rife with neglected and abused kids, overloaded case workers and unchecked officials calling the shots, reports the Boston Herald. Children's Rights, a New York-based child advocacy group, has sued Gov. Deval Patrick, the Department of Children and Families, and the Executive Office of Health and Human Services. The case is set for trial in January.
The new filing includes hundreds of pages of expert analysis and a review of more than 480 foster care cases. The case is being heard in Springfield federal court and names six plaintiffs, all children the group says “shared a history of harm” while in state custody. Among the filing's highlights, according to Children's Rights: Massachusetts ranks eighth worst in the country in children abused and neglected while in foster care; the state routinely allow children to flounder in state care before they are adopted, putting Massachusetts in the bottom third of reporting states; roughly 15 percent, or one in six children, reunited with their family after being put in foster care ultimately return because of continued abuse or neglect.