A 25-year-old lawsuit against the state challenging the adequacy of Baltimore’s foster care system may end soon after a new consent decree was created by the lawsuit’s parties. Maryland Legal Aid originated the lawsuit, L.J. v. Massinga, in 1984, but had to drop out in the mid-90s after Congress prohibited legal services programs from participating in class-action lawsuits.
“While the old decree dealt in very broad generalities, as it was the first of its generation in [foster care-related] consent decrees, really a pioneer, this consent decree is very specific and follows the type of approach that’s been used successfully in other jurisdictions that have seen dramatic progress in the child-welfare system,” Venable LLP lawyer Mitchell Y. Mirviss, who worked for Legal Aid after the case was filed and continues to represent the children pro bono, told The Daily Record.
Joan Little, chief attorney of Legal Aid’s Child Advocacy Unit in Baltimore, praised the new consent decree, saying the new administration has so far displayed “a lot of energy and vigor.”
“Maybe Maryland can really be on the forefront of child welfare, which is where it belongs,” Little told The Daily Record.
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