National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

Roe v. Ohio Dept. of Human Services
also known as Roe v. Staples and Doe v. Staples

This class action concerns whether children in foster care and their parents received pre-removal and prompt reunification services consistent with their rights pursuant to federal child welfare statutes and the Fourteenth Amendment. Plaintiffs alleged that the Hamilton County Department of Human Services (HCDHS) failed to comply with Title IV-E, and that the Ohio Department of Human Services (ODHS) failed to properly monitor HCDHS’s compliance with federal law.

Overview

FILE NO., COURT AND DATE FILED

C-1-83-1704 (S.D. Ohio, Oct. 20, 1983)

CITATIONS

706 F. 2d 985 (6th Cir. 1983), reh’g denied 717 F.2d 953 (6th Cir. 1983), cert. denied 465 U.S. 1033 (1984).

CLEARINGHOUSE REVIEW NO.

41,621

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS

Legal Aid Society of Greater Cincinnati
215 E. 9th Street, Suite 200
Cincinnati, OH 45202
(513) 241-9400
Fax: (513) 241-0047
legalaid@lascinti.org

Michael O’Hara
O’Hara, Ruberg, Taylor
25 Crestview Hills Mall Road, Suite 201
P.O. Box 17411
Covington, KY 41017
(606) 331-2000
Fax: (606) 578-3365
mohara@ortlaw.com

 

HISTORY AND STATUS

In 1986, the parties entered into a consent decree requiring a significant improvement in services to Ohio’s foster children. The court’s order directed HCDHS to (1) develop a timely written case plan for each child, including a discussion of the appropriateness of the placement and the reasonable efforts made by HCDHS to assist the family, (2) implement heightened procedural protections for parents with respect to changes in placement or visitation, and (3) provide a range of preventive and reunification services to children and families. Moreover, the agency was directed to conduct a comprehensive needs assessment and seek funding to address identified service needs. Plaintiffs entered into a separate consent decree with ODHS, requiring ODHS to issue administrative regulations within 12 months and to implement improved program standards for children’s service agencies that would extend the benefits of the settlement with Hamilton County statewide. In 1990, plaintiffs signed a supplementary agreement with the county focusing on service delivery. In February 1990, plaintiffs filed a contempt action against the state resulting in the appointment of a three-person expert panel to oversee the state’s compliance. In August 1996, the county defendants agreed to an amended consent decree. In 2002, defendants filed a motion to modify the consent decree. The court has stayed this motion pending mediation.