Monday, November 8, 2010

Psychiatric Detention of Foster Kids Is Focus of Lawsuit

May 2010--A federal lawsuit alleges that New York City’s child welfare agency commits wayward foster children to psychiatric hospitals and leaves them there long after they are declared fit for release.

The Administration for Children’s Services apparently sends the children to city hospitals for “disciplinary reasons,” rather than medical reasons. Pretexts for being sent to the looney bin including staying out too late, fighting, or “running away.”

As reported in The New York Times on Thursday, May 13, the Legal Aid Society filed its suit Wednesday, May 12, in the United States District Court in Brooklyn, objecting to the practices of committing foster children to psych wards for behavioral reasons, and keeping them inside beyond their recommended discharge dates. The terms of their confinement are apparently unnecessarily restrictive.

While seeking a preliminary injunction releasing three named children and a court order barring placement in hospitals unless medically indicated, Legal Aid is requesting class-action status for the suit. The Times said the lawyers handling the case have identified 24 more questionable detentions.

The Times notes: “There is a high incidence of mental illness among foster-care children, who have been separated from their families, many after suffering physical or sexual abuse.” This is according to Marcia Lowry, executive director of a group called Children’s Rights.

Thank you Rolando, for sharing this..

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