Barry McNeil in Texas Lawbook: Meet the Lawyers Behind the Texas Foster Care Reform Case

07/10/2019

The Texas Lawbook quoted Haynes and Boone, LLP Senior Counsel Barry McNeil in an article about his involvement in a 15-year case seeking long-overdue reforms to Texas’s foster care system, following a ruling issued Monday by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.

Here is an excerpt:

The case involves the Texas Department of Family Protective Services and the 12,000 children in the state’s long-term foster care system. With the help of two foster care advocacy groups, Houston-based Yetter Coleman and Dallas-based Haynes and Boone sued the state in 2011 claiming Texas is violating foster children’s constitutional rights due to institutional flaws in the system that subject the children to an unreasonable risk of harm. The two Texas firms are handling the case pro bono.

Haynes and Boone came on board with the plaintiffs during the year leading up to the March 2011 lawsuit. Barry McNeil, who led Haynes and Boone’s involvement, said Lowry called him after a Children’s Rights board member and longtime friend of McNeil’s recommended that she reach out to him.

McNeil had prior experience taking on the State of Texas in litigation for wrongfully sentencing two indigent Mexican nationals to life in prison for a murder they did not commit.

McNeil’s team of lawyers obtained freedom for their clients seven years into the litigation.

McNeil said he needed no further convincing to join Children’s Rights and Yetter Coleman’s efforts once he learned more about one particular aspect of long-term foster care: group homes.

“I still anguish about the group homes, which can have a number of children that are unrelated, boys and girls, different ages — all in one household with frankly minimal care,” McNeil said. …

To read the full article, click here. (Subscription required)