Class Certification: A Huge Win for Kids in West Virginia
Last month, in a huge step forward for the children, the case was granted class action status, meaning that the case is now proceeding not only on behalf of Jonathan, but on behalf of all children in foster care in West Virginia. The children’s lawyers now have the opportunity to prove that children in the West Virginia foster care system are being subjected to an “unreasonable risk of harm,” which the state is constitutionally barred from inflicting on children.
This case, along with a few others around the country, is unique. Sweeping class action lawsuits like this bring all foster children together into one class, instead of breaking the cases into small pieces that never address the fundamental systemic problems of dysfunctional foster care systems. The issues of broken child welfare systems, which provide far too few resources and are often far too intent on saving money instead of helping damaged children, must be addressed at the large-scale level. The recent class certification decision supports this system-wide strategy.
A Better Childhood for Foster Kids
If this case is successful, the state will be forced by the court to make systemic changes, improving the lives of foster children dramatically. In other states where broad-based legal action has occurred, stories like Jonathan’s are the exception, not the norm. ABC is grateful for the Impact Fund’s support in our fight for a better childhood in West Virginia.