Nothing like a federal judge telling state officials they will personally be held in contempt of court if they don’t comply with orders. Facing potential contempt, the head of California’s Dept. of Social Services told county officials to implement immediately new pay rates for foster family homes. The state had been foot-dragging on increasing the rates for more than two years.
On June 1, U.S. District Judge William Alsup told William Lightbourne, director of the department, that he had waited two and one-half years for the state to figure out how to comply with rate increases to cover the cost of raising a foster child. Earlier this month Alsup ordered Lightbourne to comply with his orders for a rate increase or personally appear in court July 28 to face potential contempt of court.
On July 22, Lightbourne told the court he had sent instructions to every county in the state to comply with family home reimbursement rates effective July 2011.
California has roughly 18,500 children in foster care program. The state was ordered to increase rates for a child up to 4 years old from the current $446 per month to $609 per month. And for older children, rates will rise from $627 to $761 per month.
This action satisfied Alsup who canceled the contempt hearing set for July 28.
Case: Calif. State Foster Parent Assoc. v. Lightbourne, C07-5086WHA