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Nonprofit sues over DCS rate cuts

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A nonprofit organization made up of agencies that provide services to abused and neglected kids is suing the Indiana Department of Child Services for cutting rates paid to the agencies next year.

The Indiana Association of Residential Child Care Agencies Inc. filed suit Monday against DCS and director James W. Payne in Marion Superior Court seeking declaratory and injunctive relief.

DCS contracts with IARCCA's members to provide services to children as described in Title IV-E of the Federal Social Security Act, which include foster care placements and residential placements. About 80 members provide services that include a residential component.

According to the suit, No. 49D11-0912-PL-056480, the DCS informed residential members earlier this month that the rates for 2010 will be cut between 4 and 14 percent and no less than 20 percent for licensed child placing agencies. DCS allegedly told the licensed child placing agencies that it would transfer the children to other locations if the providers didn't sign the new contracts with the lower rates within five days of receipt.

The contracts provide for a per diem rate set by DCS, but there is no written explanation as to how these reimbursement rates are calculated.

IARCCA accuses the DCS of failing to establish any rules or method by which it sets provider reimbursement rates and that DCS arbitrarily is cutting rates paid to providers.

IARCCA says the cuts will affect the quality of the children's care, result in higher ratios of children to staff supervisors, higher caseloads for therapists, and reductions of tutoring and mentoring programs.

IARCCA wants the court to declare that DCS' setting of per diem rate payments to providers other than pursuant to promulgated rules violates Indiana Code Section 4-22 and Title IV-E. IARCCA also seeks a preliminary injunction preventing DCS from reducing its rates until it has promulgated rules governing the establishment of per diem rates, and permanent injunctive relief requiring the agency to set rates and to change rates in accordance with written standards in state and federal law. IARCCA also wants relief to prevent DCS from taking any action concerning children in the care of providers based solely on decisions about the rates to providers.

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  2. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

  3. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  4. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  5. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

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