A federal judge has ruled that Alabama's child welfare system has significantly improved in the last 16 years, but still needs federal monitoring.
US District Judge Ira DeMent denied a Department of Human Resources request to dismiss a lawsuit filed in 1988. The suit was filed against the agency by a foster child who became known by the initials "RC" The parties negotiated a settlement in 1991 in the form of a Consent Decree, which mandated that DHR reform the system to meet specific goals and principles.
DHR Director Page Walley said the agency has sufficiently implemented those reforms. He asked the judge to remove DHR from under the watchful eye of an independent court monitor.
But DeMent denied the motion. He ruled that DHR must continue to make reforms and needs to show evidence that it can sustain those reforms in the future.
Walley says DHR is disappointed with the ruling.
DeMent ordered the agency to file another performance report by Aug. 4.