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Fix foster care faster, judge tells state

OLYMPIA – A judge is ordering Washington state officials to speed up their efforts to improve foster care.

The ruling is part of a lawsuit known as the Braam case, in which foster children sued the state for bouncing them around foster homes without adequate services.

The state settled the lawsuit in 2004 by promising to make dozens of reforms. But lawyers for foster kids say the state hasn’t lived up to its promises.

Whatcom County Superior Court Judge Charles Snyder’s Monday order gives Gov. Chris Gregoire’s administration a month to come up with plans for meeting four specific targets, including smaller social worker caseloads and more monthly visits with foster kids.

The state Department of Social and Health Services says it’s making progress on foster care, but also says more money will be needed from the Legislature. The state hasn’t decided whether to appeal.


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