On February 3, 2020, Mitch Mirviss was quoted in the Baltimore Sun regarding dozens of Maryland children who have been removed from their families and have languished in hospitals instead of settling in with foster parents or at group homes. According to the article, these children have been in medical hospitals or in psychiatric units, often for weeks at a time, even though they are not sick, injured or mentally ill.
Mirviss has been representing children in the social services and foster care system for 35 years. He's involved in a long-running lawsuit over the quality of services provided to foster children in Baltimore. He said it is unconstitutional and in violation of numerous federal and state laws to hold children in hospitals against their will and in violation of a judge's order. Moreover, hospitals aren't licensed to serve as a foster care facilities, he said.
"You are forcing someone to stay in a psychiatric setting, receiving treatment that they don't need involuntarily in a semi-incarceration-type environment," he said. "They have no freedom."
Mirviss said the state lacks enough places to care for these children, who may have challenging behavioral and social needs. He said state officials remedy the situation if they recognize the problem's scope and figure out how much money they need to open more group homes and provide more support for foster parents.
"This is a problem that is solvable," he said.