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State Supreme Court Won’t Force DCS To Comply With Caseload Limits

The Indiana Supreme Court Chamber at the Indiana Statehouse.

The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday it can’t force the Department of Child Services to comply with caseload requirements in state law.

DCS caseworker Mary Price, on behalf of herself and other caseworkers, sued to force the agency to comply with mandatory limits that restrict, on average, how many cases an employee oversees. Only one out of 19 DCS regions are currently in compliance.

A trial court ruled Price had no right to sue and should use administrative channels. The Appeals Court said she had no administrative remedy and her suit should proceed.

But Supreme Court Justice Geoffrey Slaughter writes that state law isn’t specific when it comes to enforcing the caseload requirements. The decision says compelling DCS to comply with the limits would entangle the court in the day-to-day operation of the state agency.

Slaughter notes Price can pursue an administrative remedy – but only for herself, not on behalf of other DCS employees.

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