ILNews

DCS sued for cuts to adoption, foster care rates

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2009
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Add foster and adoptive parents to the list of people unhappy with the Indiana Department of Child Services for making rate cuts in 2010. Some of those parents filed a class action suit Tuesday in federal court against DCS director James W. Payne in hopes of preventing the cuts.

The foster and adoptive parents are unhappy about a 10 percent cut in all current foster care rates and adoption payments beginning January 2010. The parents received a letter from DCS explaining the cuts, which were a result of analyzing current costs and a comparison of Indiana's foster care rates to those of other states. Because the maximum monthly adoption payments are required by law to be based on a percentage of the applicable foster care per diem rate, the DCS decided to reduce all monthly payments by 10 percent, according to the letter.

The suit filed in the U.S. District Court's Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division, C.H., R.H., D.S., and T.S., on their own behalf and on behalf of those similarly situated, et al., v. James. W. Payne, as director of DCS, No. 1:09-CV-1574, involves four proposed classes: foster parents who receive or will receive foster care maintenance payments from DCS; children in foster care or who will be in foster care, for whom maintenance payments are made or will be made by DCS; adoptive parents who receive adoption assistance payments through DCS; and adoptive children for whom the adoption assistance payments are being made.

The proposed classes, represented by various parents and children, claim the reduction of the maintenance and assistance payments violate Title IV(E), and 42 U.S.C. sections 672(a), 673(a)(3), and 675(4). The plaintiffs argue they didn't consent to the cuts and that they were made solely because of budget concerns and without individual assessments by DCS of the families receiving the payments.

The parents and children, represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana, also filed a motion for class-action certification. They seek a preliminary and permanent injunction preventing Payne from reducing the payments.

This is the second suit filed this month against DCS and Payne because of cuts to rate payments. On Dec. 14, The Indiana Association of Residential Child Care Agencies filed a suit in Marion Superior Court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief because DCS is cutting reimbursement rates next year to IARCCA members who provide services to abused, neglected, and delinquent children. IARCCA is represented by Baker & Daniels in Indianapolis.
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  1. I will be filing a lawsuit in Tippecanoe County for so many violations in a case we became involved in, including failure to contact through mail, Violation of 4th Amendment rights, Violation of Civil Rights, and so on. Even the Indiana Ombudsmen Bureau found violations and I have now received the report and they are demanding further training in Tippecanoe County. I am going to make sure they follow through!!!

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  3. I thought the purpose of the criminal justice center was to consolidate all the criminal services and get them out of downtown to clean up the place. Why in the HELL are the civil courts moving? What a burden to all the downtown law firms. Now we all get to work downtown, but then have to get in a car and COMMUTE to court? Who approved this idiocy?

  4. I drive through the neighborhood whenever I go to the City-County Building or the Federal Courthouse. The surrounding streets are all two way with only two lanes of traffic, and traffic is very slow during rush hour. I hope that enough money has been allocated to allow for improvement of the surrounding streets.

  5. I have had an ongoing custody case for 6 yrs. I should have been the sole legal custodial parent but was a victim of a vindictive ex and the system biasedly supported him. He is an alcoholic and doesn't even have a license for two yrs now after his 2nd DUI. Fast frwd 6 yrs later my kids are suffering poor nutritional health, psychological issues, failing in school, have NO MD and the GAL could care less, DCS doesn't care. The child isn't getting his ADHD med he needs and will not succeed in life living this way. NO one will HELP our family.I tried for over 6 yrs. The judge called me an idiot for not knowing how to enter evidence and the last hearing was 8 mths ago. That in itself is unjust! The kids want to be with their Mother! They are being alienated from her and fed lies by their Father! I was hit in a car accident 3 yrs ago and am declared handicapped myself. Poor poor way to treat the indigent in Indiana!

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