Anderson v. Houstoun
Juvenile Law Center, along with co-counsel ACLU-Pennsylvania, filed this class action lawsuit challenging state and county officials’ failure to pay kinship caregivers for their care of dependent children. Although it is against both federal and state law to treat relatives caring for these children differently from non-related caregivers with respect to their eligibility for foster care benefits, the foster parents named in the suit were not receiving state assistance to care for their foster children. The suit sought declaratory and injunctive relief to ensure that state practices were in line with legal requirements.
A March 2005 settlement paved the way for relatives caring for their grandchildren, nieces, nephews or other related children to receive financial help from the state. The settlement, approved by the federal court, provides for the issuance of a bulletin by the Pennsylvania Department of Public Welfare that makes clear the obligation of county children and youth agencies to treat kinship care givers like all other foster parents and includes a draft notice to be provided to all kinship caregivers clearly stating their rights to receive benefits under state and federal law.