Ashley W. v. Holcomb

Children under the custody of Indiana's Department of Child Services (DCS) sued DCS for failing to protect Indiana's foster children from physical, psychological, and emotional harm, including failing to honor their right to familial integrity and discriminating against children with disabilities. 

Juvenile Law Center joined 12 other advocacy organizations in filing an amicus brief in the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in support of the plaintiffs, arguing that the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana correctly applied Younger v. Harris in permitting this litigation to proceed. The brief further argued that the overbroad application of Younger supported by the defendants would obstruct federal courts’ historical function as protectors of constitutional and civil rights and would disproportionately affect Black and Brown children, LGBTQ+ youth, and children with disabilities.

The Seventh Circuit dismissed the suit, finding that “the live contentions in this litigation all may be resolved by judges in CHINS [Children in Need of Services] proceedings.”