In 1995, the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts severely limited the power of courts to review Department of Social Services (DSS) decisions regarding children in its care, in companion cases Care and Protection of Isaac and Care and Protection of Jeremy. All Massachusetts children in DSS’ care are affected by these cases. Isaac and Jeremy may conflict with the federal Adoption and Safe Families Act, which mandates regular review of out-of-home placements for children. In addition, these decisions disproportionately affect children of color. To protect the interests of children in DSS care, the negative impact of Isaac and Jeremy must be addressed by judicially or legislatively overruling them. Other states provide useful statutory examples of addressing this problem.
Eleanor L. Wilkinson,
Massachusetts Children in Need of Services: Trapped by the Legacy of Isaac and Jeremy,
B.C. Third World L.J.