National Center for Youth Law


Dwayne B. v. Snyder
Also known as Dwanye B. v. Granholm

This class action lawsuit was filed against the state of Michigan for violating constitutional, federal statutory, and federal common law rights of children in foster care. The suit challenges the state for failing to move children quickly into safe, permanent homes; for failing to provide children with adequate medical, dental, and mental health services; and for failing to prepare children to live independently as adults after exiting the foster care system. The lawsuit charges that poor management, underfunding, and understaffing of Michigan’s child welfare system put the children in its custody at risk of serious harm.



2:06-CV-13548 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 8, 2006)


2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 28265 (E.D. Mich. Apr. 17, 2007); 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 60412 (E.D. Mich. Aug. 17, 2007); 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 4791 (E.D. Mich. Jan. 23, 2009)




Marcia Lowry
Sara Bartosz
Gena Wiltsek
Children’s Rights, Inc.
330 Seventh Avenue, Fourth Floor
New York, NY 10001
(212) 683-2210
Fax: (212) 683-4015

Edward Leinbensperger
Kevin Bolan
McDermott, Will & Emery LLC
28 State Street
Boston, MA 02109
(617) 535-4000
Fax: (617) 535-3800



  • August 8, 2006— plaintiffs filed lawsuit. One day later, plaintiffs filed a motion to certify a class comprised of all children currently residing in foster care and all children who will enter Department of Human Services (DHS) custody in Michigan.
  • February 2008—the Children’s Research Center filed a report in its role as court-appointed expert and plaintiffs submitted additional expert reports.
  • On July 3, 2008, Michigan Governor Jennifer Granholm signed a sweeping settlement agreement. The Court granted final approval of the settlement agreement on October 24, 2008.
  • September 30, 2009—the court monitor released the first monitoring report. The monitor found that DHS had made progress in reducing caseloads, creating a quality assurance unit, developing data management capacity, and reducing the backlog of children awaiting permanency. However, a second report released in March 2010 found that reforms were stalling in key areas, including achieving permanency and assisting youth who have aged out of foster care.
  • July 18, 2011—court approves consent decree based on the modified settlement agreement between plaintiffs and DHS under newly elected Governor Rick Snyder.
  • June 2012—the monitor issued its last report. The court “administratively closed” the case, meaning that it is closed until a new filing is made but the court has not relinquished jurisdiction.

Last updated: 8/15/14