Children’s Rights

Children’s Rights is a national advocacy group working to reform failing child welfare systems on behalf of the hundreds of thousands of abused and neglected children who depend on them for protection and care. Since 1995, we have been fighting to enshrine in the law of the land every child’s right to be protected from abuse and neglect and to grow up in a safe, stable, permanent home. Through tough legal action complemented by substantive policy expertise, we have won landmark victories and brought about sweeping improvements in the lives of abused and neglected children in more than a dozen states.

In the states where Children’s Rights is active, fewer children who have already been victimized by abuse and neglect at home suffer further maltreatment in foster care. More children receive the high-quality medical, educational, and other services they need to recover from the trauma they have suffered and regain the healthy childhood that is their right. And more children go home sooner to better lives and to safe, stable, permanent families.

THE CASE: With support from the Barbara McDowell and Gerald S. Hartman Foundation, Children’s Rights is pursuing a statewide federal class action lawsuit in Missouri challenging the state’s longstanding failure to ensure the safe administration of psychotropic and antipsychotic medications to children in state foster care. Plaintiffs include two- and three-year-old siblings in foster care, who were put on unmonitored psychotropic medications; a 14-year-old placed on six different psychotropic and antipsychotics medications simultaneously who developed facial tics, slurred speech and an inability to stay awake during the day; and a 12-year-old who required psychiatric hospitalization when given the wrong dosage of his medications upon moving from one home to another with no written medical instructions. The lawsuit focuses on the state’s poor informed consent policy, a broken system for maintaining updated medical records for children, and the failure to operate a secondary review system to identify and address dangerous prescribing practices. Our partners include John Amman of the St. Louis University School of Law Civil Litigation Clinic; attorneys at the National Center for Youth Law in Oakland, California, who have expertise related to the oversight of psychotropic medications; and the global law firm Morgan, Lewis & Bockius LLP, as pro bono counsel. Immediate and positive media coverage of our case has brought national attention to this important issue.

Contact: Sandy Santana, Executive Director, 88 Pine Street Suite 800, New York, NY 10005. Tel. (212) 683-2210.