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Texas Foster Care Case Proceeds to Remedy Phase, After Trial Court and Fifth Circuit Rulings

Texas foster children are one step closer to a safe and secure system following two decisions announced on March 21, 2016 that ensure the remedy phase of litigation against the State will proceed.

U.S. District Judge Janis Graham Jack has appointed child welfare expert, Kevin Ryan, and nationally known court-appointed master, Prof. Francis McGovern, as Co-Special Masters.  They are charged with jointly assessing the “broken” state foster care system over the next six months and recommending a remedial plan to fix its unconstitutional defects. View appointment order.

The appointment came shortly after the U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals denied the State’s request to stay the district court’s December 2015 decision, noting the “evidence supporting the grave problems arising from the lack of 24-hour supervision in foster group homes” and that “the safety and rights of vulnerable children are at stake.” View stay motion denial.

“This is a tremendous day for thousands of children,” said Paul Yetter, who is lead trial counsel on the case, M.D. v. Abbott. “After a two-week trial, three appeals, and Judge Jack’s findings of an undeniably broken system, meaningful reform efforts finally can start. We look forward to working with this all-star panel of Special Masters and the State to make things right for these innocent children.”

Yetter Coleman, along with another respected law firm and two public interest groups, has pursued foster care reform for 11 years. Our trial and appellate team includes Paul Yetter, Reagan SimpsonDori Kornfeld Goldman, Lonny Hoffman, Christian Ward, Christopher Porter, and Wynn McCloskey.