July 14, 2015

ACLU Sues State Over Child Services Caseloads

ACLU Sues State Over Child Services Caseloads

INDIANAPOLIS -- The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana has filed a class-action lawsuit that claims the Indiana Department of Child Services is violating state law by failing to hire enough caseworkers. 

Indiana law mandates that DCS must have enough caseworkers so that one employee doesn’t supervise more than 17 children at a time.  Case manager Mary Price said her caseload is 43 children – too many, she said, to effectively handle.  On behalf of Price and other DCS workers, the ACLU of Indiana is suing the state, seeking to force DCS to hire more case managers.  ACLU legal director Ken Falk said he understands that DCS alone can’t fix the problem.

“I am not sure if DCS has the ability to achieve these standards without more support from the legislature; I suspect the legislature must step in.  But it’s the legislature’s standard and the state of Indiana is on the line here to protect children,” Falk said.

The General Assembly, at DCS’ request, appropriated seven-and-a-half million dollars a year in the new state budget to hire one hundred more case managers and 17 supervisors.  Falk said that’s not enough to get the job done.  In a statement, DCS said it cannot comment on pending litigation.  

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