Katie A. v. Los Angeles County, Central District of California/Western Division

Executive Summary

Katie A. v. Bonta is a class action lawsuit that was filed in July 2002 against California’s State Departments of Health Care Services and Social Services (the state case), as well as Los Angeles County and its child welfare agency (the county case). It challenges the State and County’s failure to provide necessary home-based and community-based mental health services to children who are in or at risk of foster care. A settlement agreement with Los Angeles County was reached in 2003 wherein the County agreed to close its large shelter facility for foster youth – MacLaren Children’s Center – and to develop appropriate child welfare and mental health services in the community. An expert Advisory Panel was established as part of the settlement agreement to monitor implementation and assist the County. While one lawsuit was filed against both the State and LA County, this part of the case is known as Katie A. v. Los Angeles County.


In 2019 the County moved to end the agreement and dismiss the litigation. In September 2020, a new settlement agreement was reached between the parties. The new agreement requires by the County to take specific steps over a period of approximately 9 months to ensure children in or at risk of foster care in the county receive necessary intensive home based mental health services. The agreement must still be approved by the federal district court.

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