Mark A. v. Wilson

Mark A. v. Wilson was filed in January 1998 alleging that the State’s administration of the Adoption Assistance Program, a federally funded program that provides families with financial support when they adopt hard to place foster children, requires parents to provide extensive financial data before they can be considered for the program and discourages families from applying. Federal law expressly prohibits the use of an income eligibility test. As a result, many families are unable to provide adoptive homes. The suit further alleges that Defendants Pete Wilson, Eloise Anderson and the California Department of Social Services, terminate AAP support to families arbitrarily and without their agreement. Federal law states that an Adoption Assistance Agreement is final once it is signed and can only be modified with the concurrence of the family. Attorneys claim that the state requires families to waive this right as a condition of receiving benefits. State and County agencies then reduce payment for reasons that are not authorized under federal law. After extensive discussions, we settled the case and co-sponsored legislation to implement the settlement. The StateĀ  issued new regulations and we monitored their compliance with the terms of the settlement.