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Wednesday, January 09, 2008

Interesting Foster Care Case in Ohio...

Is this case about protecting children from dangerous people, or about protecting the foster care system from scrutiny? I'm asking...

Attorneys argued before the Ohio Supreme Court Tuesday whether the names and addresses of foster care parents should be public record.

John C. Greiner, a Cincinnati lawyer representing the Enquirer, said, “We are not asking for the names of any children.”

Enquirer reporter Gregory Korte made a public records request shortly after the August 2006 death of 3-year-old Marcus Fiesel, seeking an electronic database of all foster homes in Ohio.

Marcus died after his foster parents left him tied up in a closet while they took a weekend trip to Kentucky. Liz and David Carroll Jr. were later convicted in the boy’s murder.

The Enquirer reported in March that Hamilton County court officials discovered 27 foster parents had arrest records.

Greiner said the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services made a policy decision – not legal decision – to withhold foster license records, effectively daring the Enquirer to file a lawsuit.

He said the newspaper never sought the names of foster children, so would not have placed them in danger.

But Assistant Attorney General Henry G. Appel, in defense of the state, said, “This case is about protecting vulnerable children against dangerous people.”

More here.


Anonymous said...

I say name them. The foster care system is no safer then an abusive home.

National Freedom of Information Coalition said...

Yeah, it's sort of simplistic, but I find scrutiny generally makes everyone better...