Judge sanctions District in child welfare case
(This post has been updated since it was first published.)
The federal judge overseeing the long-running class-action suit against the District's child welfare system sanctioned the District on Tuesday for disregarding court orders in the case.
Last year, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty (D) selected a new Child and Family Services Agency director, Roque Gerald, without consulting with the plaintiffs in the case as the judge, Thomas F. Hogan, had ordered.
In April, Hogan found the city in contempt for that and other actions, and at a hearing last month, he said he could have forced out Gerald as director.
But neither the judge nor the plaintiffs sought such a dramatic penalty, which could have caused considerable disruption at the beleaguered agency. The plaintiffs proposed that the mayor be required to meet with them every six months. In his order Tuesday, Hogan stopped short of that idea, instead requiring a single meeting between the plaintiffs and the mayor or the mayor's designee.
In his April decision, the city was also found in contempt for failing to submit an adequate annual plan on time, and in particular for its failure to offer specific steps for improving services for older foster children aging out of the system.
As a sanction for that contempt, Hogan ordered the city to set aside $40,000 to supplement funding for programs for older foster children.
And the District will have to calculate the attorneys' fees incurred by the plaintiffs in litigating the contempt motion and set aside an amount equal to that, which will also be used to enhance programs for older foster children.
-- Henri Cauvin
| September 28, 2010; 4:24 PM ET
Categories: D.C. Employees
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