For Immediate Release - December 15, 2014

Statement by AG Coakley on DCF Decision

First Circuit Court of Appeals Upholds Lower Court’s Decision to Dismiss Connor B. Lawsuit

BOSTON – Today, the First Circuit Court of Appeals upheld pdf format of Connor B Decision - 1st Circuit Court of Appeals
a lower court decision to dismiss a lawsuit brought by the Children’s Rights Organization against the Massachusetts Department of Children and Families (DCF). DCF and the Attorney General’s Office had argued that the lawsuit’s court-ordered solutions were not appropriate for Massachusetts, and that the Commonwealth is best equipped to make changes to better protect children in the foster care system, as opposed to doing so through the courts. 

“This decision reaffirms the lower court ruling that the court ordered, one-size-fits-all approach pushed in this lawsuit is not right for Massachusetts,” AG Coakley said. “This decision does not mean that the work is complete, however. Now it is up to the next administration to put in place the needed reforms and resources to better protect kids in our foster system and throughout DCF. There is no more important task facing our next Governor.”

In November 2013, Federal Judge William Young ruled against the Children’s Rights Organization that originally brought the lawsuit. In its decision today, the First Circuit said:

“…they have not established, based on the facts, that there have been constitutional violations as to the class of foster children, so they are not entitled to an injunction or federal court oversight. Improvements in the system must come through the normal state political processes. The problems are now for the Governor and legislature of Massachusetts to resolve.”