March 28, 2008

State of Alabama
Press Release: Human Resources, Department of

Federal Appeals Court Affirms R.C. Consent Decree Dismissal

The 11th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals has unanimously affirmed U.S. District Judge Ira DeMent’s January 2007 dismissal of the R.C. Consent Decree, ending court oversight of DHR’s child welfare services. The three-judge panel of the circuit court wrote in their opinion, "It is, as the district court concluded, time for the federal court to step aside and allow the state to continue its efforts to care for the Alabama children in its protection."

"This is another great day for Alabama," Gov. Bob Riley said. "We have built what is now recognized as a model child welfare system for the rest of the nation, and today's ruling is an affirmation of all the incredible progress that has taken place."

"This is an affirmation of the remarkable work of the staff of the Department of Human Resources (DHR), and it acknowledges that Alabama has a model child welfare system," said state DHR Commissioner Page Walley. "I am gratified that the court recognized the hard work of Judge DeMent, DHR and the plaintiffs in the case to bring about this extraordinary achievement," Commissioner Walley said.

In the148-page opinion, DeMent agreed that the Department of Human Resources improved to the standards set in a 1991 consent decree and had shown it could maintain those standards.

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