Kansas AG Derek Schmidt statement on settlement of foster-care lawsuit

TOPEKA, KS (STL.News) Kansas Attorney General Derek Schmidt tonight issued the following statement regarding the legal settlement filed today to resolve a class-action lawsuit challenging the constitutionality of the Kansas foster care system:

“These sorts of lawsuits that seek public policy changes through the courts rather than through ordinary democratic processes cost taxpayers millions of dollars in legal fees and distract from the critical business of operating and improving public services.  For that reason, I consider settling this lawsuit a step in the right direction so the state can refocus its full attention on remedying shortcomings in the foster care system and improving services for foster kids rather than defending against protracted litigation.  I am particularly grateful for the thoughtful, bipartisan review and input today from members of the State Finance Council and appreciated the assurances the Council received from the Department for Children and Families that the settlement’s requirements can be met without substantial new expenditures by the state.  While I never favor subjecting the state to ongoing supervision by federal courts and third-party monitors, I am hopeful the reasonably narrow supervision authorized by this settlement will minimize the intrusion on state decision-making.”

The settlement was approved by unanimous vote of the State Finance Council this afternoon and filed with the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas about 7 p.m.  It became public upon filing with the court.  The settlement still is subject to review and approval by the Court. The lawsuit was filed in November 2019.  The case is Katharyn McIntyre et al v. Howard et al, Case No. 2:18-cv-02617-DDC-GEB.

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