Department of Children and Families

Hartford, CT: (Jun-09-07) A class action lawsuit filed by a class of over 2,000 mentally ill children in need of better care against the Connecticut Department of Children and Families (DCF), alleged that the foster children received substandard care from the DCF. The lawsuit was filed in 2002 and has been in litigation for five years.

In a settlement reached, the state's child welfare agency has agreed to spend $10 million to settle the federal class action lawsuit. DCF has agreed to spend $3 million to improve emergency mobile psychiatric services to help children in crisis before they end up in crowded hospital emergency rooms. Another $5.3 million is to be spent on more comprehensive, community-based mental health services. The remaining $1.7 million would cover the costs of a consultant to oversee implementation of the settlement, the plaintiffs' legal costs and other ancillary services. The settlement is aimed at facilitating DCF's ability to meet these youths' needs, reduce the amount of failed placements they experience, and, most importantly, assist them in becoming successful after they leave state care. [NEWS TIMES LIVE: SUBSTANDARD FOSTER CARE]

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