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DCS to fund state subsidies for adoptions from foster care

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The Department of Child Services will fund state subsidies for children adopted from foster care for the fiscal year that began July 1. The announcement comes after a lawsuit claimed the state reneged on promises to provide the assistance to about 1,400 eligible families since 2009.

In a news release, DCS said Gov. Mike Pence confirmed in a letter to DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura that the state would fund the program.

“Although the State Adoption Subsidy is only a small piece of the assistance the State of Indiana offers to adoptive parents, it is my belief that funding the program this fiscal year is the right thing to do,” Pence said. “At the same time, the Adoption Study Committee is now looking at this issue, and we appreciate their work to develop recommendations that address the needs of Hoosier families and effectively promote adoption,” added Pence.

In recent months, parents who adopted foster children initiated a class-action suit on behalf of an estimated 1,400 Indiana families.

Attorneys claim the state owes in excess of $50 million in unpaid adoption subsidies over the past five years. DCS had vowed to pay the subsidy if funding was available, yet the agency did not provide the payments while returning hundreds of millions of dollars to the state, according to the suit. Families had been placed on a waiting list to receive subsidies when funding became available.

“We’re very proud our lawsuit caused the state to finally do the right thing,” said Lynn Toops, a partner at Cohen & Malad LLP, which represents the foster families. Wednesday’s announcement, though, “provides no relief to families who went on the waiting list and received nothing from 2009 to July 1, 2014.

DCS said in its statement that the state pays more than $92 million in adoption subsidies for more than 11,000 children through the Federal Adoption Assistance Program (AAP) and the County Adoption Subsidy (CAS). The State Adoption Subsidy wait list is for children ineligible for AAP or CAS.

DCS spokesman James B. Wide said the subsidies are expected to cost the state about $10 million and will benefit about 1,500 children.

“Governor Pence has a heart for adoptive and foster families, and we are grateful we have been able to identify resources to fund this program for families that have adopted children from our system,” Bonaventura said in the statement.

Indiana had been the only state that placed parents on a waiting list for an adoption subsidy and returned funding to the state, according to the North American Council on Adoptable Children.

Indiana Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane of Anderson and Democratic member John Broden of South Bend, who advocated for restoration of the subsidy, applauded the decision.

“Senate Democrats have long pushed for Indiana to join every other state in making this incentive available to parents,” Lanane said. “As I’ve stated in the past concerning the administration’s policies – better late than never.”

“I truly believe in the maxim that a society is ultimately judged by how it treats its most vulnerable citizens,” Broden said. “I am hard pressed to imagine a more vulnerable class of people than abused and neglected children.”

Parents of adoptive children who have questions regarding the State Adoption Subsidy can contact centralized.eligibility@dcs.in.gov, or call 877-265-0086.

 

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  • Still waiting
    We have been on the waiting list since June 2009. And still have not received anything. Don't they have a time limit after the lawsuit is settled to get everyone off the wait list? Still waiting
  • Class Action
    There is a class action suit. Moss vs Indiana DCS.
  • Unpaid Adoption Subsidies
    It has been of great interest for us following this case as we are one of those families who have been on a waiting list for three years that this affects. I am curious as to: 1) families can expect these payments that are retroactive to July 1, 2014 and 2) what progress is being made for the payments that were never honored before that time? Thank you!

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    1. Thank you, John Smith, for pointing out a needed correction. The article has been revised.

    2. The "National institute for Justice" is an agency for the Dept of Justice. That is not the law firm you are talking about in this article. The "institute for justice" is a public interest law firm. http://ij.org/ thanks for interesting article however

    3. I would like to try to find a lawyer as soon possible I've had my money stolen off of my bank card driver pressed charges and I try to get the information they need it and a Social Security board is just give me a hold up a run around for no reason and now it think it might be too late cuz its been over a year I believe and I can't get the right information they need because they keep giving me the runaroundwhat should I do about that

    4. It is wonderful that Indiana DOC is making some truly admirable and positive changes. People with serious mental illness, intellectual disability or developmental disability will benefit from these changes. It will be much better if people can get some help and resources that promote their health and growth than if they suffer alone. If people experience positive growth or healing of their health issues, they may be less likely to do the things that caused them to come to prison in the first place. This will be of benefit for everyone. I am also so happy that Indiana DOC added correctional personnel and mental health staffing. These are tough issues to work with. There should be adequate staffing in prisons so correctional officers and other staff are able to do the kind of work they really want to do-helping people grow and change-rather than just trying to manage chaos. Correctional officers and other staff deserve this. It would be great to see increased mental health services and services for people with intellectual or developmental disabilities in the community so that fewer people will have to receive help and support in prisons. Community services would like be less expensive, inherently less demeaning and just a whole lot better for everyone.

    5. Can I get this form on line,if not where can I obtain one. I am eligible.

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