California State Foster Parent Association, et al. v. John A. Wagner, Director of the California Department of Social Services, et al.

The plaintiffs in this case represent foster families who claim that the State of California has failed to meet federal obligations to increase foster family home (FFH) reimbursements in line with increases in the cost of caring for a child. The plaintiffs claim that, were the State to increase its reimbursements and meet its obligations, much (or even all) of the State’s incremental costs would be offset by the return of children to FFHs from more expensive placements, such as in-group homes. Econ One has been retained (on a pro bono basis) to evaluate the effect on foster care costs if the State were to increase its reimbursements. Phil Johnson demonstrated that the plaintiffs’ claim was correct. His analysis calculated the cost savings that would arise from an increase in the number of lower cost FFH placements and the associated decrease in the number of placements in settings that provide more expensive, unneeded services. Dr. Johnson has filed an expert report and is expected to give both deposition and trial testimony by the end of this year.