Class Action Suit against New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (“ACS”)

The Patterson Belknap team, working with the Legal Aid Society, sued ACS alleging that children in New York City’s foster care system were being improperly held in very restrictive acute psychiatric hospitals, even after being cleared for discharge for months by doctors at the hospitals. Through extensive negotiations following certification of the class and entry of a preliminary injunctive order, plaintiffs and the City were able to reach a comprehensive settlement agreement, “so ordered” by the court, which implemented extensive and far-reaching oversight of New York City’s foster care agencies and their uses of acute psychiatric hospitals. Since the settlement was entered, PBWT and the Legal Aid Society have continued to closely monitor ACS’s implementation of the stipulation of settlement to ensure that the terms of settlement are being complied with by the City. There has been substantial improvement in the data relating to such acute psychiatric hospitalizations since the settlement.