National Center for Youth Law

STRATEGIES

Wheeler v. Sanders

Plaintiffs’ complaint alleged that Los Angeles officials failed to investigate family members before sending children to live with them, thereby endangering children and costing the state millions of dollars in federal funding. The lawsuit sought to enforce compliance with the state statutory mandates agreed to in Higgins v. Saenz established to ensure that foster families caring for their relatives’ children are certified.

 

Overview

FILE NO., COURT AND DATE FILED

BS089106 (Cal. Super. Ct., L.A. County, Mar. 26, 2004)

ATTORNEYS FOR PLAINTIFFS

Carol Shauffer
Alice Bussiere
Youth Law Center
417 Montgomery Street, Suite 900
San Francisco, CA 94104
(415) 543-3379
Fax: (415) 956-9022
cschauffer@ylc.org

Jeffrey Spitz
Greenberg, Glusker, Fields, Claman, Machtinger & Kinsella
1900 Avenue of the Stars, 21st Floor
Los Angeles, CA 90067
(310) 553-3610

HISTORY AND STATUS

Plaintiffs filed suit in December 2003, alleging that Los Angeles County violated state and federal requirements designed to ensure that children are safe because the Los Angeles Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) failed to approve relative foster homes according to legal standards and to assist relatives in meeting basic health and safety requirements.

In September 2005, the parties reached a settlement agreement and the Court approved a joint stipulation for dismissal.  The County provided the Youth Law Center with quarterly reports through November 2008, at which time the County had reached 90% or greater compliance with the settlement agreement in two consecutive quarters.