Lawsuit Alleges Deep Flaws in Arizona’s Foster Care System

Feb 3, 2015

Lawyers representing ten children have filed a federal class-action lawsuit against two Arizona state agencies. As Arizona Public Radio’s Justin Regan reports, the lawsuit charges the state with having a “deficient foster care system.”

Credit Pat Shannahan/The Republic


The lawsuit represents the approximately 16,000 children in Arizona’s foster care system. The directors of both the Department of Child Safety and the Department of Health Services are listed as defendants. The suit accuses the state of lacking access to mental and physical health services, separating siblings in state care, and a delay investigating most reports of alleged abuse in the foster care system.

Another complaint is that there are a limited number of foster homes. In many cases, this has led to children having to sleep in the offices of the Department of Child Safety. While then-Governor Brewer had retooled the agency in 2014, plaintiffs claim it has not done enough.