INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Indiana’s Department of Child Services says it did not mislead adoptive parents when it told them it no longer offered subsidy payments.
More than 1400 families are now suing the agency, claiming DCS promised to pay them up to $28 a day for each special needs child they adopted. But those subsidies haven’t been paid since 2009.
Each adoptive family has a contract with the State. Attorney Lynn Toops says the contracts state DCS promises to pay an adoption subsidy if funding becomes available.
New court documents obtained by WANE’s sister station WISH show DCS admitted to returning more than $238 million in excess funding to the State during that time. The agency denies that money could have been used to pay the subsidies. The families disagree.
“They are truly angels taking in foster care children and making them a part of their family. And, they were promised by the State of Indiana they would get this money to help them raise these troubled children. And they’ve not received a penny,” explained Toops, who is representing the families.
A Notre Dame study commissioned by the families shows Indiana adoptions have declined by more than 80-percent since the subsidies stopped. Toops attributes that to the lack of subsidy and families not being able to afford to raise children who need special services.
A DCS spokesperson told WISH they couldn’t comment because it is pending litigation.