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Firm says DCS misled parents on foster adoption subsidies

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The Indiana Department of Child Services misled parents adopting foster children by falsely claiming the agency lacked resources to provide subsidies while it returned hundreds of millions of dollars to the state, according to the Indianapolis law firm pursuing a class-action suit against DCS.

The agency “admitted they had returned nearly $240 million to the state” while representing to parents no funding was available for subsidies to adopt special-needs foster children, said Cohen & Malad LLP attorney Lynn Toops. She said DCS also admitted adoptions in the state have declined dramatically since 2009, when the state ceased providing the subsidies.

Rich Allen, assistant communications director for DCS, said in an email, “because this is pending litigation, I’m not able to comment.”

Typical subsidies are $19 a day or less per child, negotiated between DCS and parents based on income and other factors.

Toops said the firm estimates DCS owes parents denied subsidies more than $50 million. The suit was filed in June on behalf of 1,400 Hoosier families, and lead plaintiff Debra Moss of LaPorte likened DCS to deadbeat parents.

The situation is creating a hardship for parents, Toops said, and making Indiana a notable outlier in state support for children most in need.

“Indiana has in recent years been very concerned about having a good fiscal picture, having a good surplus,” she said. “By trying to save a buck and not paying these adoption subsidies, it’s actually costing money in the long run.”

The firm cites research by Notre Dame University economist Kasey Buckles showing a sharp reduction in adoptions – from roughly 30 per 100,000 children in 2008 when subsidies were being paid to about 5 per 100,000 children in 2011. Toops said the adoption rate has since declined even further.

Buckles’ research concludes that each adoption of a child from foster care saves the state $200,000 in public benefits.

Josh Kroll, adoption subsidy resource center coordinator for the North American Council on Adoptable Children, said Indiana has a dubious distinction. “It’s the only state that is saying they have insufficient funds for kids that they find eligible and is putting them on a waiting list.”

Gov. Mike Pence last month announced Indiana ended fiscal year 2014 with an operating surplus of $106 million and reserves of $2 billion.
 

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  • Still waiting
    We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

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  1. Bob Leonard killed two people named Jennifer and Dion Longworth. There were no Smiths involved.

  2. Being on this journey from the beginning has convinced me the justice system really doesn't care about the welfare of the child. The trial court judge knew the child belonged with the mother. The father having total disregard for the rules of the court. Not only did this cost the mother and child valuable time together but thousands in legal fees. When the child was with the father the mother paid her child support. When the child was finally with the right parent somehow the father got away without having to pay one penny of child support. He had to be in control. Since he withheld all information regarding the child's welfare he put her in harms way. Mother took the child to the doctor when she got sick and was totally embarrassed she knew nothing regarding the medical information especially the allergies, The mother texted the father (from the doctors office) and he replied call his attorney. To me this doesn't seem like a concerned father. Seeing the child upset when she had to go back to the father. What upset me the most was finding out the child sleeps with him. Sometimes in the nude. Maybe I don't understand all the rules of the law but I thought this was also morally wrong. A concerned parent would allow the child to finish the school year. Say goodbye to her friends. It saddens me to know the child will not have contact with the sisters, aunts, uncles and the 87 year old grandfather. He didn't allow it before. Only the mother is allowed to talk to the child. I don't think now will be any different. I hope the decision the courts made would've been the same one if this was a member of their family. Someday this child will end up in therapy if allowed to remain with the father.

  3. Ok attorney Straw ... if that be a good idea ... And I am not saying it is ... but if it were ... would that be ripe prior to her suffering an embarrassing remand from the Seventh? Seems more than a tad premature here soldier. One putting on the armor should not boast liked one taking it off.

  4. The judge thinks that she is so cute to deny jurisdiction, but without jurisdiction, she loses her immunity. She did not give me any due process hearing or any discovery, like the Middlesex case provided for that lawyer. Because she has refused to protect me and she has no immunity because she rejected jurisdiction, I am now suing her in her district.

  5. Sam Bradbury was never a resident of Lafayette he lived in rural Tippecanoe County, Thats an error.

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