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Braam Settlement Agreement

News

December 19, 2011
Notice to Class Members of Revised Settlement Agreement in BRAAM V. STATE

November 1, 2011
Settlement agreement renegotiated for Braam Plaintiffs

Background

The Braam vs. State of Washington lawsuit was filed in August 1998 on behalf of a class of foster children who had three or more placements while in foster care. The named plaintiff is Jessica Braam. The lawsuit alleged that the Department of Social and Health Services (DSHS) does not provide constitutionally required care to foster children.

After six years of litigation, a Settlement Agreement was reached and approved by the court in November 2004. The goal of the settlement agreement is to improve the conditions and treatment of children in the custody of the Washington State DSHS Children's Administration (CA), Division of Children and Family Services.

The Braam Oversight Panel was created in 2004 to oversee the Settlement Agreement regarding Washington State's foster care system. It is an independent five member panel of experts from across the nation that were mutually agreed to by the parties.

The Braam Oversight Panel, in collaboration with DSHS/CA and substantial input from the Plaintiffs' attorneys, developed outcomes, benchmarks and action steps. On October 31, 2011, the Department and the Plaintiffs' attorneys agreed to continue to monitor the Department's performance on 21 Outcomes, which include monthly visits, sibling placement, sibling visits, annual mental health and substance abuse screens, and others.

Measuring Progress

The Department issues data twice yearly on its performance in the 21 Outcomes in the Revised Settlement and Exit Agreement. The Braam Oversight Panel determines whether the Department complied with the full compliance measure in the agreement, and determines whether the Department complied with the 21 Outcomes in the Revised Settlement and Exit Agreement.

The Braam Oversight Panel will remain in operation and continue to monitor the Department's performance through December 31, 2012. The Panel will hold twice yearly public meetings that coincide with its monitoring report; the final meeting occurring in June 2013.

2014 Update

The Braam Semi-Annual Performance Report for the period of July - December 2013 is now available. This report includes 10 of the 12 remaining enforceable outcomes under the Revised Settlement and Exit Agreement. In this period, Children's Administration reached compliance for the full 18 months on four additional performance measures: Monthly Health & Safety Visits with Children, Thoroughness and Timeliness of DLR-CPS Investigations, Sibling Placement, and Educational Needs of Children. In the four previous periods, Children's Administration achieved full compliance on nine outcomes; Child Health & Education Tracking (CHET) Screens, Placement Stability, Ratio of Licensed Foster Care Beds to Children in Foster Care, Safety in Care, Changes in School Placement, Annual Mental Health and Substance Abuse Screens, Sexually Aggressive Youth (SAY) Training & Plan, Physically Assaultive/Aggressive Youth (PAAY) Training & Plan, and Youth Transition Exit Staffings.

In July - December 2013, Children's Administration demonstrated improved or stable performance on seven of the 10 outcomes, while continued improvement is needed on three of the remaining outcomes. For those outcomes where the full compliance measure was not achieved, the report includes strategies the Children's Administration will continue to use to improve performance.

With the issuance of this semi-annual performance report, Children's Administration has achieved full compliance on 13 out of the 21 outcomes with only eight remaining enforceable.

Beyond the Agreement

While the Revised Settlement and Exit Agreement expired December 31, 2013, Children's Administration remains committed to monitoring performance and maintaining the Quality Assurance and Continuous Quality Improvement processes established to achieve the goals of the Revised Settlement and Exit Agreement. The Department has implemented a system which allows us to learn from our results and improve processes and practice where necessary. We have embedded our commitment to achieving the outcomes into our day to day practice.

Additional Information

Copies of the Performance Reports, Monitoring Reports, DSHS/CA Compliance Plan Reports, and Braam Panel Public Meeting minutes and materials are available below.

For information from DSHS/CA regarding the Braam Settlement Agreement or to participate in the continuous quality improvement process related to outcomes addressed in the Revised Settlement and Exit Agreement please email cabraamsettlement@dshs.wa.gov.

Reports and Meeting Minutes

2014

Performance Reports

Case Review Reports


2013

Performance Reports

Case Review Reports


2012

Performance Reports

Case Review Reports


2011

Performance Reports

Monitoring and Compliance Plan Reports

DSHS/CA Quarterly Public Meeting Documents


2010

Performance Reports

Monitoring and Compliance Plan Reports

DSHS/CA Quarterly Public Meeting Documents