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Settlement reached on foster care rates

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Indiana Lawyer Rehearing

The Indiana Department of Child Services has agreed not to cut subsidies for foster and adoptive parents and other caregivers as part of a class-action settlement in federal court.

Though it hasn’t received final court approval in the Southern District of Indiana, the Nov. 19 agreement between the state agency and the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana would make permanent a preliminary order issued by U.S. Judge Sarah Evans Barker in January. That order barred DCS from imposing a 10 percent cut in the maximum $25 per day subsidy that parents and guardians receive for foster kids and some special needs adoptive children. DCS had proposed the reduction late last year after Gov. Mitch Daniels ordered state agencies to slash their budgets because of revenue shortfalls, but two federal lawsuits that were later combined alleged the cuts violated parts of Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 670, et seq.

The case is C.H., et al. v. James W. Payne, No. 1:10-CV-381. This proposed settlement stipulates that DCS isn’t admitting any violation and does not concede on the merits, but that both parties want to reach a settlement.

This proposed settlement allows DCS to come up with a new formula for calculating the daily rate for children in foster care by the end of 2010, but that does not preclude foster parents from challenging the new rates when they’re determined, according to a class notice attached to the proposed settlement. The proposal also provides that DCS will pay about $104,812 in attorneys’ fees and costs.

Once the class members receive notice, Judge Barker will likely consider the proposed settlement in January.•

Rehearing "Cuts trigger two lawsuits" IL Jan. 6-19, 2010

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. 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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  4. 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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