A group of adoptive parents are suing the Indiana Department of Child Services for failing to pay them adoption subsidies.
The lawsuit, which is seeking class-action status, alleges the department did not pay 1,400 parents subsidies for adopting special needs children out of the foster care system.
Deborah Moss adopted her three biological grandchildren in 2012 after previously serving as their foster parent. During that time, Moss, who receives Social Services disability payments, was being paid $25 per day per child by the DCS. Once she adopted them, the payments stopped.
“They are not only harming the children whose interest are the most important of all because they are not providing for the children to have the more secure, stable permanent environment of an adoptive home instead of leaving them in the state foster care system,” he says. “Ironically, the state is spending even more money on the children’s care while they’re in the foster care system and being shoveled from one home to the other.”
State law requires the DCS to pay adoptive parents of special needs children if funding is available. Attorney Richard Shevitz, who is representing Moss, estimates the subsidy at about $18 per day, and says the department has access to such funding. He says since 2009, the DCS returned about $235 million to the state’s general fund.
“The reality is, and this is set forth in the complaint, from available statistics it appears adoptions have declined since 2009 because of the simple reality that people cannot afford to bring the children into their homes,” Shevitz says.
A spokesman for the Department of Child Services says they have not received notice of the case so he cannot comment.
The lawsuit was filed in a LaPorte County court yesterday.
At Gov. Mike Pence’s urging, the state legislature passed a law earlier this year that provides adoptive parents a $1,000 tax credit.
However, adoption advocates say Indiana is still one of only two states that does not provide an adoption subsidy.