Older Youths in Foster Care at Risk

Lawsuit Challenges NH’s ‘Unlawful’ Treatment of Older Foster Children

CONCORD — New Hampshire is violating the constitutional and statutory rights of older youth in foster care and putting children at severe risk of dangerous and tragic outcomes, according to a federal lawsuit filed by advocates for children’s rights.

The class action lawsuit was brought by the ACLU of New Hampshire, Disability Rights Center – NH, New Hampshire Legal Assistance, the national advocacy group Children’s Rights, and the law firm Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP.

The complaint focuses on specific structural failures that are harming older youth in foster care, all of whom have already experienced the trauma of being separated from their families and removed from their homes.

The class action is brought on behalf of children ages 14 to 17 who are in the custody of New Hampshire’s Division for Children, Youth and Families (DCYF), have a mental health impairment, and are in, or are at risk of being placed in, an institutional or other group facility setting (also called “congregate care”).

“The teenage years are difficult for many children, but they are exponentially more challenging for children who have been removed from their parents due to allegations of abuse or neglect…

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