National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

Carson P. v. Heineman
also known as Foreman v. Heineman

Plaintiffs filed this case on behalf of five children who have suffered physical and psychological harm while in the custody of the Nebraska Division of Health and Human Services (HHS), and as a class action on behalf of 6,000 foster children in state custody in Nebraska.  The complaint alleged violations of the children’s constitutional rights, their rights under Title IV-E and IV-B, and their rights pursuant to the Early Periodic Screening Diagnosis and Treatment provisions of the Medicaid Act.  The lawsuit charges the state with failing to address longstanding systemic problems such as a drastic shortage of foster homes, high caseloads for case workers assigned to monitor child safety, a lack of mental health care services, the lowest payments to care for foster children in the country, and a lack of services and resources to get children adopted.

Overview

FILE NO., COURT, AND DATE FILED

4:05-cv-03241-RGK-DLP (D. Neb., Sep. 19, 2005)

CITATIONS

240 F.R.D. 456 (D. Neb. 2007); 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 96082 (D. Neb. Aug. 16, 2006).

 

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS

Doug Gray
Marcia Robinson Lowry
Children’s Rights, Inc.
330 Seventh Avenue, Fourth Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 683-2210
Fax: (212) 683-4015
dgray@childrensrights.org

Milo Mumgaard
Nebraska Appleseed Center for Law in the Public Interest
941 O Street, Suite 105
Lincoln, Nebraska 68508
(402) 438-8853
Fax (402) 438-0263
mmumgaard@neappleseed.org

 

HISTORY AND STATUS

Plaintiffs filed their complaint and a motion for class certification on September 19, 2005.  The court has ordered the parties to conduct discovery into the facts and circumstances of the named plaintiffs and has indicated that it will rule on plaintiffs’ class certification motion in early 2006.

On January 19, 2007, the court denied plaintiffs’ petition for class certification and granted defendants’ motion to dismiss on the basis of abstention under Younger v. Harris.  Plaintiffs did not appeal the ruling.