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Maryland sued for allegedly housing foster children in hospitals

Posted at 4:08 PM, May 30, 2023
and last updated 2023-05-31 11:40:06-04

ANNAPOLIS, Md. — Disability Rights Maryland is suing the State for allegedly housing foster children in hospitals despite no urgent medical reason for doing so.

According to the court filing most foster children stuck at the hospital have disabilities and were brought by parents who felt it was unsafe to care for them.

In many cases the parents first sought help from their local Department of Social Services, but were apparently told they could not take custody until a bed became available elsewhere in a group home, or highly restrictive residential program or treatment center for youth.

As result kids end up in what hospitals call "overstay status" due to a lack of "medical necessity."

Venable, the law firm who filed the suit, says this causes "imminent risk of experiencing, medically unnecessary hospitalization."

They estimate 100 foster children are affected by the policy each year.

A similar lawsuit was filed in 1987yet attorneys say reforms agreed to then have proven to be inadequate now.

“Maryland children are suffering,” said Luciene Parsley, litigation director at DRM. "Community support services in Maryland have once again deteriorated to the point where children with disabilities are forced to wait in hospitals and emergency departments for weeks and months on end, even after their medical professionals have certified that they do not require hospitalization.”