October 09, 2014
On October 29th, Weil Gotshal will be honored for the Firm’s work with Children’s Rights, a national nonprofit that uses the law to hold governments accountable and defend thousands of kids when foster care systems fail. Since 2007, Weil has represented foster children in a class action challenging Rhode Island’s notoriously poor foster care system. The benefit will be held at The Lighthouse at Chelsea Piers.
Since 1995, Children’s Rights has worked to reform failing child welfare systems on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of abused and neglected children who depend on them for protection and care. The organization initiates class action litigation to secure every child’s right to be protected from abuse and neglect.
The Rhode Island lawsuit was filed on behalf of all children who are or will be in the legal custody of the Rhode Island Department of Children, Youth and Families (DCYF) due to a report or suspicion of abuse or neglect. Among the issues faced by children in DCYF’s care are a high rate of maltreatment (more than three times the federal standard), unreasonable caseloads for state investigators who routinely fail to complete investigations in a timely fashion, and the lack of an adequate array of homes for children in foster care. The action alleges violations of the children’s constitutional rights to substantive due process and familial association and their statutory rights to adequate case plans and foster care maintenance payments. The case is currently under appeal to the First Circuit.
Since Weil undertook this representation in 2007, approximately 65 Weil timekeepers have devoted more than 3,000 hours to this litigation, making it one of the Firm’s most significant pro bono litigation matters ever in terms of duration, hours contribution, and potential impact.