Jeanine B. Settlement Information

A diverse group of children, arms around each other with brightly-colored t-shirts

Jeanine B. Settlement Agreement

Introduction

The Department of Children and Families (DCF), in collaboration with Children’s Rights, are seeking court approval to end the Jeanine B. legal settlement agreement governing DCF’s child welfare work in Milwaukee County. This action recognizes the significant work completed to date and the state’s ongoing commitment to improving child welfare services provided to Milwaukee County’s children and families. While exiting the settlement agreement marks a significant milestone, it will not change the state’s commitment to continue to provide the best possible child welfare services to the community in a transparent and collaborative fashion.

Interested in helping us share this news? Please use our Jeanine B. one-page flyer.

Impact

In short, there will not be changes to DCF’s operations as a result of this development. DCF’s providers will continue to serve the children and families of Milwaukee County. The state will continue to publicly report its data, Milwaukee County child welfare will remain in state control, and the Milwaukee Child Welfare Partnership Council will continue to provide community feedback and guidance. DCF will continue to implement transformative changes consistent with the federal Family First Act. That includes an increased focus on providing families services to successfully keep children with their families.

Background

The Jeanine B. lawsuit dates to 1993. As a result, the Legislature transferred responsibility for child welfare services in Milwaukee County to the state in 1998. In 2002, the parties (the state defendants and a class of children represented by Children’s Rights) agreed to enter into a settlement agreement to resolve the Jeanine B. lawsuit. This settlement agreement was approved by the court in 2002 and has facilitated substantial improvement of the child welfare services provided to Milwaukee County’s children and families. The Jeanine B. settlement agreement established 19 performance measures relating to the permanence, safety, and well-being of children in care for the state to meet before being released. All but one of those measures, relating to placement stability, have been met. The federal Family First legislation, which is changing how child welfare services are delivered, becomes effective in Wisconsin later this year. As the state shifts its focus to keeping families safely together whenever possible, the state defendants and Children’s Rights have agreed that substantial compliance with the placement stability benchmark warrants termination of the settlement agreement.

Next Steps

The state defendants and Children’s Rights filed a Joint Motion to Terminate Settlement Agreement and Consent Decree on Grounds of Substantial Compliance (Joint Motion) and other related documents. Chief Judge Pamela Pepper of the United States Federal Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin is presiding over the settlement exit proceedings, and has issued a Scheduling Order governing those proceedings. 

Key Dates and Events

July 14, 2021

Notice providing information about exit from the Settlement Agreement and related proceedings will be published and distributed to media outlets and to stakeholder lists.

July 21, 2021      

The parties’ briefs and other materials filed in support of the Joint Motion will be posted on this web page.

July 28, 2021     

Non-parties (persons other than the parties) wishing to submit written materials regarding the Joint Motion must mail them to the Clerk of Court at the address provided in the Scheduling Order linked above.

August 11, 2021               

Copies of written materials sent to the Clerk of Court by non-parties will be posted on this web page.

August 25, 2021               

The parties may file any briefs or material responsive to the non-party filings or any other written materials in support of the Joint Motion. Any filings by the parties will be posted on this web page.

August 25, 2021               

Non-parties wishing to speak at the hearing Judge Pepper will conduct on the Joint Motion must notify the Clerk of Court and counsel for the parties at the addresses provided in the Scheduling Order linked below.

September 1, 2021          

The Clerk of Court will provide instructions to non-parties who have provided notification that they wish to speak at the hearing.

September 1, 2021          

Instructions for persons who wish to observe or attend the hearing will be posted on this web page.

September 29, 2021       

Judge Pepper will conduct a hearing on the Joint Motion at 1:30 p.m. at the Federal Courthouse in Milwaukee. At this time, Judge Pepper anticipates holding an in person hearing with ability to participate and observe remotely by Zoom. Any changes or updates to this plan will be shared on this web page.

More information about these key dates and events can be found in the Scheduling Order linked above. The Notice will include contact information for persons to whom questions may be directed.

DCF will continue to share regular updates about these proceedings and post related documents on this page.

To receive updates on the settlement status, subscribe to an email listserv using the form below.

Email address:
Your name (optional):
 

Historic Settlement Agreement Information (including Performance Measures)

Settlement Agreement Information

Beginning January 1, 1998, the Wisconsin Department of Health and Family Services (DHFS) assumed responsibility for administering child welfare services in Milwaukee County, which had previously been under the Milwaukee County Human Services Department. DHFS (now the Department of Children an Families, DCF) assumed responsibility for child welfare services as required by legislation enacted in the 1995 and 1997 legislative sessions in response to a lawsuit filed against the State and  Milwaukee County. The suit alleged that the state and the county were in violation of federal law and that the administration of child welfare services in Milwaukee County  was so poor that it failed to keep children safe.  

Children's Rights Lawsuit

Settlement Agreement

Progress Report and Performance Measures, January - June 2020

Progress Report and Performance Measures, 2019 Annual

Progress Report and Performance Measures, January - June 2019

Progress Report and Performance Measures, 2018 Annual

Progress Report and Performance Measures, January - June 2018

Progress Report and Performance Measures, 2017 Annual

Progress Report and Performance Measures, January - June 2017

Progress Report and Performance Measures, 2016 Annual

Progress Report and Performance Measures, January - June 2016

Progress Report and Performance Measures, 2015 Annual

Progress Report and Performance Measures, January - June 2015

Progress Report and Performance Measures, 2014 Annual

Progress Report and Performance Measures, January - June 2014

Progress Report and Performance Measures, 2013 Annual

Progress Report and Performance Measures, January - June 2013

If you are in need of earlier Progress Report and Performance Measures periods, please submit a written request specifing Name; Agency; Address; Phone Number; Fax Number (if available); which period(s) you are requesting and the information will be forwarded to you.

Your request can be email to: MCPS Archived Settlement Information or Faxed to 414-220-7062.

Contact the Milwaukee Child Protective Services