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DCS settles adoption subsidy lawsuit

September 18, 2014

Families who sued the Department of Child Services will receive $15.1 million in state foster child adoption subsidies withheld from 2009 to 2014, DCS announced Thursday.

“As an adoptive parent, I know what it means to open your heart and provide a permanent home to a child in foster care,” DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura said in a statement. “Today’s announcement means financial resources will be available for parents who have faced challenges meeting the needs of their adopted children.”

The settlement has been submitted to LaPorte Superior Court, which must approve the agreement, after which a third-party administrator will oversee distribution of the proceeds. DCS said the subsidies provide for more than 1,800 children adopted from the foster care system.

Indianapolis law firm Cohen & Malad P.C. sued DCS in July on behalf of lead plaintiff Debra Moss of LaPorte and other adoptive parents who claimed the agency failed to provide promised funding while returning hundreds of millions of dollars to the state’s general fund.

Gov. Mike Pence last month announced subsidies would resume this fiscal year for eligible families.

Cohen & Malad managing partner Irwin B. Levin said in the statement that Pence’s decision and the agreement announced Thursday “will help adoptive families provide for the physical and emotional needs of the children. We’re very happy the Governor and Director Bonaventura were cooperative and agreed to get the adoptive families the help they need.”

Parents of adopted children who have questions about the state adoption subsidy and fiscal year 2015 payments can contact centralized.eligibility@dcs.in.gov or call 877-265-0086. Adoptive parents with questions about the agreement covering prior periods can contact 1-866-339-7452.
 

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