DOJ finds Alabama’s foster care system violates Americans with Disabilities Act

The Department of Justice found that the state of Alabama illegally discriminates against...
The Department of Justice found that the state of Alabama illegally discriminates against children in foster care with behavioral and emotional disabilities as announced Wednesday.(MGN)
Published: Oct. 12, 2022 at 11:40 AM CDT
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WASHINGTON (WAFF) - The United States Department of Justice announced Wednesday the State of Alabama illegally discriminates against children in foster care with behavioral and emotional disabilities.

The DOJ said the state foster care program has illegally placed hundreds of students with disabilities into “segregated and inferior educational programs,” a direct violation of Title II of the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA).

Assistant Attorney General Kristen Clarke of the Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division said students in Alabama’s foster care system deserve better care.

“Students with disabilities in Alabama’s foster care system are among the most vulnerable in the state’s care, and they deserve better than placement in segregated and inferior schools,” Clarke said in a statement. “The Civil Rights Division will defend every child’s right to equal educational opportunities in schools where they can be supported and challenged.”

The state is required to provide educational services for children in the foster care system, including when children are placed in psychiatric residential treatment facilities (PRTFs). According to the DOJ, students that are placed in these treatment facilities are automatically enrolled in segregated on-site schools without an appropriate educational assessment.

In these segregated placements, the DOJ said students lack access to age-appropriate study materials, adequate instruction and facilities such as libraries, science labs and gyms.