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DCS settles final issue stemming from 2009 suit over rate cuts

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The Indiana Department of Child Services announced Tuesday that is has reached a legal settlement with IARCCA, an Association of Children & Family Services, over rates paid to cover additional staffing costs and cost-of-living expenses to residential facilities and foster care agencies that serve abused and neglected children.

The settlement says that DCS will primarily adjust cost-of-living rates to providers and pay for additional staff per child with providers. According to a statement released by DCS, the settlement agreement provides a one-year adjustment on rates for 2013. The state estimates the adjustment will cost $15 million.

In 2009, IARCCA filed a lawsuit after DCS said it would cut rates paid to the agencies that provide foster care placements and intensive residential treatment for children who are abused or neglected, beginning in 2010.

After changes in Indiana property tax law in 2008 shifted responsibility of payments for provider services to state government from county governments, DCS realized that there was a wide range of pricing of services among providers.

DCS contracts with IARCCA’s members to provide services to children as described in Title IV-E of the Federal Social Security Act.

Since the suit was filed, IARCCA and DCS have settled other issues cited in the suit. In 2011, the two reached an agreement regarding the reimbursement rate cuts. Stephanie McFarland, spokeswoman for DCS, said that the settlement announced Tuesday stems from a 2011 filing in the original lawsuit. Now that the issue over rates paid to cover more staff and cost-of-living expenses has been settled, no issues from the 2009 suit remain.

IARCCA Executive Director Cathleen Graham said in the statement that her membership is pleased with the settlement result. She noted that further work needs to be done, and IARCCA is “equally pleased that DCS agreed to meet regularly in partnership to enhance Indiana’s child welfare system. It takes both the public and private sectors working together to truly meet the complex needs of the abused, neglected and delinquent children and their families.”

For nearly three years, DCS has been trying to implement consistent rates for providers across the state based on actual costs incurred. McFarland said DCS is on course to achieve that goal.

“Although costs vary from region to region within the state, rates are tied to actual and verifiable costs, so the range of rates is not as large as what had been the case prior to 2009,” she said. “Administrative rules have been established regarding rates, and this settlement acknowledges those rules.”
 

IARCCA was represented by Faegre Baker Daniels LLP; James Payne, the named defendant in the suit and former director of DCS, was represented by Bingham Greenebaum Doll LLP and Taft Stettinius & Hollister LLP.

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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