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Federal Judge Approves Class Action Lawsuit on Behalf of Children with Mental Health Needs in Louisiana

Outcome of Lawsuit Could Affect Tens of Thousands of Children Across the State

NEW ORLEANS, La. – U.S. District Court Judge Brian A. Jackson ruled last week that a lawsuit challenging Louisiana’s failure to provide intensive home and community-based mental health services, as required by law, to Medicaid-eligible children can proceed as a class action lawsuit on behalf of tens of thousands of children across the state. The lawsuit, filed in November 2019 following a multi-year investigation, describes how the state’s failure to provide these services forces children to needlessly cycle in and out of hospitals, psychiatric facilities and the juvenile justice system for extended periods of time, often far away from the places they call home. 

The following statement is by the advocacy groups representing the children in the lawsuit, including the Southern Poverty Law Center, National Health Law Program, the National Center for Law and Economic Justice, Disability Rights Louisiana and O’Melveny & Myers LLP:

“For far too long the state has failed to meet its obligation to provide intensive mental health services to children and families in accordance with federal law. We are pleased that the Court will allow the case to move forward as a class action. The Court’s decision will ensure that the results of the lawsuit will have a far-reaching impact for tens of thousands of children to receive the services they need, when and where they need them.”

To learn more about the lawsuit, A.A. et al. v. Phillips, et. al, visit: https://www.splcenter.org/seeking-justice/case-docket/aa-et-al-v-gee-et-al.