Tag Archives: Joan Little

Legal Aid’s Joan Little quoted in Sun article on foster care

An expert in child welfare from Maryland Legal Aid in Baltimore was quoted in a front-page story in today’s Baltimore Sun  about the drop in the number of children in the state’s foster care system.

Joan Little, chief attorney for the Maryland Legal Aid Bureau’s child advocacy unit, applauded the state’s recent successes, including its emphasis on reducing the number of foster children in group homes,” wrote the Sun‘s Yvonne Wenger.

“But in some cases, Little said, the state has been too quick to reunify families that aren’t ready, especially because it’s so important for the state to get the decision right when a child’s safety is at stake,” the article continued.

“‘I think any time the state produces this kind of sweeping policy, there’s a risk,’ Little said.

“The situation could be improved if more resources, such as food vouchers or budget planning, were available to parents after they have been reunified with their children, Little said. ‘You’ve got parents who are truly struggling.'”

To read the article (behind a pay wall), click here.


Legal Aid expert quoted in Sun article on foster care

An article in today’s Baltimore Sun about the state’s decision not to renew a foster care provider’s license to place foster care children–for allegedly  falsifying minutes of board meetings and failing to pay its foster parents and staff on time–quoted Maryland Legal Aid’s Joan Little, chief attorney of the Child Advocacy Unit in Baltimore.

Little said the state should move with “deliberate haste” to re-license the affected foster parents with new providers.

“She said the situation may create headaches for the parents, who may find that other providers have different requirements or pay different monthly stipend rates than Contemporary Family Services,” the article said.

“‘You might run the risk of someone being ruled out because maybe a background check gets done differently,’ Little said.

“Little said the situation is an opportunity for the state to evaluate the way it licenses foster care providers,” the article continued. “She would like to see the state devote more staff and resources to foster care so potential problems can be addressed quickly and seamlessly.”

To read the article, click here (behind a pay wall).

Pact signed in foster case opened by Legal Aid in 1984

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.

To read the article, click here.