Judge Approves Legal Aid Lawsuit Requiring City to Assist Young People Aging Out of Foster Care with Housing

New York State Supreme Court Judge Geoffrey Wright approved the settlement of a class action lawsuit against the New York City Agency for Children's Services (ACS) on behalf of young people who are aging out of foster care and have been denied assistance in finding appropriate housing. The settlement requires that ACS establish a specialized unit to ensure these young people receive this essential housing assistance, and also requires that ACS provide supervision to young people who are not yet 21, but who have already been discharged from foster care. The settlement further provides for four years of monitoring by plaintiffs' counsel. The lawsuit, D.B. et al. v. Richter, was filed by The Legal Aid Society, Lawyers For Children and the law firm of Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP, against ACS in October, 2011.

"Through this settlement, the City has agreed to put in place essential services to prevent these vulnerable young people from being discharged from foster care into homelessness," said Tamara A. Steckler, Attorney-in-Charge of the Juvenile Rights Practice at the Legal Aid Society. "This settlement will benefit the more than 800 young people ages 18 to 21 who are discharged from foster care in New York City each year. We will closely monitor the City's compliance with this important settlement." According to Karen Freedman, Executive Director of Lawyers For Children, "this settlement will ensure that these vulnerable young people receive the assistance they desperately need in order to transition to independence."

The attorneys from The Legal Aid Society include Lisa Freeman, Karen Fisher Gutheil, and Kimberly Forte. The attorneys from Lawyers For Children include Karen J. Freedman, Betsy Kramer, and Priti Kataria. The attorneys from Davis Polk & Wardwell LLP include James W.B. Benkard, Sharon Katz, Scott B. Luftglass, and David C. Pitluck.

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