Tennessee’s foster care system could complete a federal lawsuit that demanded better treatment of abused and neglected children. A judge heard Monday the Department of Children’s Services has met all 136 of the reform goals that were first ordered 16 years ago.
As of this year, DCS has met all requirements for how it protects children, finds them adoptive homes, and trains foster parents.
The department had to change because of a class action lawsuit that was named after a little boy — he’s known only as Brian A. He and other foster children endured horrible treatment, prompting experts to spend more than a decade trying to improve DCS.
Along the way, the department has been nationally recognized for some improvements, like its speedy adoptions. But problems with child abuse cases and a faulty computer system that didn't properly pay foster parents kept DCS under the watch of U.S. District Court Judge Todd J. Campbell, and a panel of experts housed within the department.
Now the agency must keep up its good work for the rest of the year, and the lawsuit — and oversight — can end.