August 24, 2023

Munger, Tolles & Olson Files Civil Rights Lawsuit on Behalf of Young Adults in Foster Care Against State and County Agencies and Officials for Failure to Provide Stable Housing and Adequate Support Services

Munger, Tolles & Olson has filed a civil rights lawsuit against the California Department of Social Services, Health and Human Services Agency, Department of Health Care Services, Los Angeles County, the County Department of Children and Family Services, and the County Department of Mental Health on behalf of six young adults in foster care who have been deprived of legally guaranteed housing and mental health care. 

The complaint alleges that the agencies have failed to meet their obligations under state and federal law to provide children and young adults in the state’s foster system with safe and stable housing, supportive services, health and mental health services and case planning for the successful transition into adulthood. The defendants’ failures have led to an increase in homelessness among foster youth and have contributed to the already skyrocketing unhoused population in Los Angeles.

“By denying young adults in foster care appropriate housing and support, the county and state are re-traumatizing these young people,” said MTO associate Jimmy Biblarz. “The government’s systemic failures consign young adults to homelessness and shelters. Foster youth, who the state is charged with caring for, cannot pursue their goals and dreams, succeed in school and work or build the skills needed to thrive without the resources they deserve.” 

MTO’s co-counsel includes Public Counsel, Alliance for Children’s Rights and Children’s Rights. The firm and its partners aim to hold the state and county accountable and seek substantive policy changes to the foster care system so young people will have the chance to thrive in adulthood. This includes ending housing discrimination against young adults with disabilities, improving case-planning and trauma-responsive services and increasing the number of beds and housing placements available to young adults. 

In addition to Jimmy Biblarz, the MTO team includes William Temko, Grant Davis-Denny and Peter Gratzinger.

Read more about the civil rights lawsuit.

The complaint has already garnered news coverage, including in the Los Angeles Times.

About MTO’s Pro Bono Practice

Contributing to the community through pro bono work and other forms of volunteerism is a core tenet of the culture at Munger, Tolles & Olson. The firm was one of the charter signatories to the American Bar Association’s pro bono challenge and consistently devotes more than three percent of all attorney time to delivering needed pro bono legal assistance. We are proud to be one of the select group of firms to have received the ABA’s coveted Pro Bono Publico Award.

Learn more about our pro bono practice.