ILNews

U.S. District Court dismisses 14-year consent decree

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2007
Keywords
Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share
Nearly 15 years after a consent decree was ordered by the U.S. District Court Southern District in the case B.M., et al. v. James W. Payne, et al., the court today dismissed the decree.

The case was originally filed by the Indiana Civil Liberties Union in 1989 on behalf of the wards of Marion County and their parents because of child welfare workers' alleged failure to adequately provide services for families and children.

Before the case made it to trial in 1992, Judge William Steckler entered a consent decree with two key points - specific lower ratios of children to case workers and certain standards for case workers' training. The consent decree lasted 14 years because of the state's inability to comply with the elements of the decree.

Today, U.S. District Court Judge Tinder heard testimony from both sides of the case as to why the decree should be dismissed.

Kenneth Falk, ACLU-IN legal director representing the plaintiffs, said the system is not perfect, but the state is working to fix the problems. Steps the state has taken include the creation of the Indiana Department of Child Services and legislative funding and a law to maintain the low ratio of children to case workers, which will take affect next year.

"Since March 2005, the caseload standards have been constantly complied with," Falk said.

Judge Tinder, after hearing both sides of the testimony, said dismissal of the consent decree was fair, reasonable, and adequate.

"There is overriding public interest in settling. The funds (used for litigation) can be used for more important purposes," he said.
ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Is it possible to amend an order for child support due to false paternity?

  2. He did not have an "unlicensed handgun" in his pocket. Firearms are not licensed in Indiana. He apparently possessed a handgun without a license to carry, but it's not the handgun that is licensed (or registered).

  3. Once again, Indiana's legislature proves how friendly it is to monopolies. This latest bill by Hershman demonstrates the lengths Indiana's representatives are willing to go to put big business's (especially utilities') interests above those of everyday working people. Maassal argues that if the technology (solar) is so good, it will be able to compete on its own. Too bad he doesn't feel the same way about the industries he represents. Instead, he wants to cut the small credit consumers get for using solar in order to "add a 'level of certainty'" to his industry. I haven't heard of or seen such a blatant money-grab by an industry since the days when our federal, state, and local governments were run by the railroad. Senator Hershman's constituents should remember this bill the next time he runs for office, and they should penalize him accordingly.

  4. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  5. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

ADVERTISEMENT