Lawyers ask appeals court to make class action out of foster care lawsuit

Lawyers for children suing Clark County’s foster care system asked a federal appeals court Wednesday to allow their lawsuit to go forward as a class action representing all of the county’s foster children.

The National Center for Youth Law, based in San Francisco, filed the lawsuit in August 2006 alleging a “systematic failure of the Clark County foster care system” including physical abuse, neglect and denial of medical care.

In June 2008 U.S. District Judge Robert Jones denied a motion to create a class representing the county’s 4,000 foster children, saying there was not enough similarity between children in the lawsuit and the county’s other foster children.

Lawyers for the state and county agreed with the judge’s decision and argued against overturning it. The three-judge panel with the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals in San Francisco will issue a written decision.

The lawsuit has been on hold while the two sides try to negotiate a settlement.

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