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Court approves settlement in child welfare complaint

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — A federal court has approved the settlement reached by the state and child advocates in a class-action lawsuit that alleged systemic abuse and neglect of nearly 2,000 children living in state custody.

Children’s Rights, the nonprofit advocacy group that filed the lawsuit in 2007, says a federal court in Providence approved the deal. The settlement was reached in January.

Under the terms, the state Department of Children, Youth and Families must work toward achieving 12 goals. For example, the state can’t place children in short-term shelters, and it must work to keep siblings together. Caseworkers must also make monthly visits with the children.

Children’s Rights says Rhode Island’s most vulnerable children will be safer because of the settlement’s mandated reforms.

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