MA Child Welfare System on Trial for Letting Foster Children Suffer

A New York based advocacy group is accusing the state of Massachusetts of endangering the safety and well being of thousands of children in its foster care system. The trial is scheduled to begin in federal court tomorrow.

Massachusetts has the eighth most dangerous foster care system in the U.S. in terms of maltreatment of children under its care. That’s according to Marcia Robinson Lowry — executive director of Children’s Rights, the group filing the lawsuit. And she says the bay state has an equally bad reputation for the matches it makes between foster children and their temporary care givers.

“Massachusetts puts the children in a foster home that either can’t deal with the child’s problems or is inappropriate in the first instance.”

Lowry says that’s because there’s a serious shortage of placement options. Until this year, the amount of money foster families received from the state had been frozen for a decade. And Lowry says that decision actually cost  Massachusetts tax payers. She says it’s expensive to make matches that don’t work out.

“That is not free. So the public ought to be very concerned about the fact that MA is using its funds to shuffle kids from one place to another to another without getting them a permanent home.”

Other accusations being made by Children’s Rights include over-prescribing psychotropic drugs to children in the system and neglecting to ensure regular visits by case workers. Lowry says Massachusetts is the first state of about a dozen others accused of similar violations to fight the allegations, rather than settle. The state Department of Children and Families could not be reached in time for broadcast.