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DCS to appeal injunction on rate cuts

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The Indiana Department of Child Services wants the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review a judge's decision to temporarily stop DCS rate cuts.

The state filed its notice of appeal Thursday in C.H., et al. v. James W. Payne, 1:09-CV-1574, in U.S. District Court, Southern District of Indiana, Indianapolis Division. The state is appealing District Judge Sarah Evans Barker's Jan. 20 decision to grant a preliminary injunction preventing DCS from cutting reimbursement rates for adoptive and foster parents and child care agencies.

Both the parents and the Indiana Association of Residential Child Care Agencies sued DCS in December after learning of cuts to reimbursement rates paid by DCS to those parties. The suits were consolidated into one, C.H. v. Payne. The combined suit represents more than 100 agencies statewide and has been certified as a class action for foster and adoptive parents throughout Indiana.

Judge Barker said in her 38-page order that much more than money is at issue in the case.

"It is the quality of care promised to the children under the applicable statutes that is at stake in the case at bar," she wrote. "Any deficiency in such care cannot later be undone with monetary compensation."

DCS spokesperson Ann Houseworth told Indiana Lawyer in an e-mail that the decision to appeal was made after reviewing their options and concluding that the injunction places an undue restraint on the agency's ability to further improve Indiana's system of child services.

"We believe that appealing this decision will serve the best interests of all the children we serve," she said.

The state hasn't filed its brief yet, but has 40 days from Thursday to do so.

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  1. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

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  3. 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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