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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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  • 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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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