• U.S.

Federal Lawsuit Claims South Carolina Foster Care System Harms Children

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Child welfare activists filed a lawsuit in Federal court Monday against South Carolina’s foster care system.

The lawsuit cites three “deficiencies” in the state’s foster system, according to the New York Times: overwhelming caseloads for employees, poor health services for the children and a lack of foster homes. “D.S.S. is re-victimizing the very children it is charged to protect,” the lawsuit says, meaning the Department of Social Services.

“There’s got to be accountability when longstanding systemic problems, like a severe lack of mental health services, gross over-reliance on institutions and high caseloads that continue to harm innocent children,” Ira Lustbader, the litigation director for Children’s Rights, told the Times.

Eleven children in foster care are plaintiffs in the lawsuit. The suit was filed in Federal District Court in Charleston.

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Write to Tessa Berenson at tessa.Rogers@time.com