National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

People United for Children, Inc. v. City of New York

Plaintiffs, a non-profit organization and African-American parents affiliated with the organization, brought suit against New York City’s Administration for Children’s Services (ACS) for alleged system-wide deficiencies in the city’s administration of its child welfare program. Plaintiffs alleged that ACS unfairly implemented its policy of resolving ambiguous cases in favor of removing the child from the home until the parents could prove that the home was safe. Plaintiffs claimed that the overwhelming majority of parents impacted by this policy were African Americans.

Overview

FILE NO., COURT AND DATE FILED

99-cv-648 (S.D.N.Y., Jan. 29, 1999)

CITATIONS

1999 WL 799533 (S.D.N.Y. Oct. 7, 1999); 108 F. Supp. 2d 275 (S.D.N.Y. 2000); 214 F.R.D. 252 (S.D.N.Y. 2003); 2003 WL 22056930 (S.D.N.Y. Sep. 10, 2003); 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 15425 (S.D.N.Y. Feb. 26, 2007)

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS

Esmeralda Simmons
Joan P. Gibbs’Center for Law and Social Justice
Medgar Evers College, CUNY
1150 Carroll Street
Brooklyn, NY 11225
(718) 270-6412
Fax: (718) 270-6190

HISTORY AND STATUS

Plaintiffs filed suit on January 29, 1999, and the parties conducted discovery and filed various motions. Plaintiffs moved for certification of the case as a class action. The court granted this motion on April 21, 2003, but denied class representative status to two proposed individuals. Both parties filed motions for reconsideration. On September 3, 2003, the district court denied both motions.

On October 24, 2005, the court preliminarily approved the settlement reached by the parties. A fairness hearing on the proposed settlement was scheduled for December 2005.

On February 26, 2007, the court entered a final judgment approving the settlement agreement, which provided declaratory and injunctive relief for the class. An individual plaintiff appealed the case to the Second Circuit. The appellate court affirmed the settlement in general but remanded the case to the district court to modify a small portion of the settlement pertaining to the release clause.