University of Michigan Law School
Civil Rights Litigation Clearinghouse
new search
page permalink
Case Name C.H. v. Payne CW-IN-0001
Docket / Court 1:09-cv-01574 ( S.D. Ind. )
State/Territory Indiana
Case Type(s) Child Welfare
Attorney Organization ACLU Chapters (any)
Case Summary
On December 22, 2009, four groups of foster parents and children directly receiving foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments from the Indiana Department of Child Services ("DCS"), filed a law suit against DCS and its director ("Payne") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S ... read more >
On December 22, 2009, four groups of foster parents and children directly receiving foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments from the Indiana Department of Child Services ("DCS"), filed a law suit against DCS and its director ("Payne") under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana. The plaintiffs, represented by the ACLU of Indiana and private counsel, asked the court for injunctive relief, alleging that the DCS violated Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 670, et seq. Specifically, the plaintiffs asked the District Court to enjoin DCS from implementing a 10% reduction in foster care and adoption assistance payments.

The plaintiffs alleged that DCS unlawfully reduced foster care and adoption assistance payments. DCS receives money from the federal government through Title IV-E of the Social Security Act, 42 U.S.C. § 670, et seq., from which monthly payments are made to foster parents and adoptive parents. DCS had enacted a 10% reduction in these payments, effective in January of 2010. Pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 673(a)(3), the amount of foster care and adoption assistance payments must be determined by considering the circumstances of the adopting parents and the needs of the child being adopted. The plaintiffs contended that the 10% reduction violated this provision because the reduction was motivated by budgetary constraints and not the individual assessments families receiving the payments or the general costs of providing care for the children in question.

On December 22, 2009, the plaintiffs moved to certify as a class all foster parents and children directly receiving foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments from DCS. On January 25, 2010, the District Court (Judge Sarah Evans Barker) granted the motion, certifying the claims of C.H. plaintiffs to proceed as a class action.

On December 28, 2010, the Indiana Association of Residential Child Care Agencies ("IARCCA"), the plaintiff in a separate action against DCS seeking to enjoin the 10% payment reduction, made an unopposed motion to consolidate cases. On January 25, 2010, the district court granted the motion to consolidate the case filed by IARCCA.

On January 20, 2010, the district court issued a preliminary injunction stopping the planned 10% reduction in foster care and adoption assistance payments. DCS appealed this preliminary injunction to the Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals on February 18, 2010. This appeal was dismissed.

On February 9, 2011, the parties executed a settlement agreement. The agreement stipulated that DCS would cease its effort to reduce foster care payments. Further, the agreement required DCS to continue to provide foster care maintenance payments of at least $25 a day until it established a method of computing the costs that satisfied the requirements of 42 U.S.C. § 673(a)(3). DCS was not precluded by the settlement agreement from reducing foster care payments once it had established a new method of computing such payments. The agreement allowed foster parents to challenge the new rates once they were established through the application of the new method of payment calculation. The agreement further provided that DCS pay $104,812 in attorneys' fees and costs.

On February 25, 2011, the the district court approved a Joint Stipulation of Dismissal, which dismissed with prejudice the claims made by C.H. against Payne and vacated the Court's Preliminary Injunction. On the same day, the court dismissed without prejudice the claim by IARCCA against Payne. The Joint Stipulation of Dismissal provided that the claims made in the Complaint could not be reopened unless DCS breached the Settlement Agreement or applicable law before 30 days after the new rates went into effect.

On November 30, 2011, the plaintiffs filed notice of intent to reopen litigation, alleging that the defendants had violated provisions of the settlement agreement. Because DCS scheduled decreases to the rates at which it would reimburse service providers, overall coverage of treatment provided to children would decrease. The plaintiffs filed an amended complaint and an application for a preliminary injunction in December 2011.

At the court's suggestion, the plaintiffs moved in May 2012 to enforce the settlement agreement along with a motion for a preliminary injunction. The parties held a series of pretrial settlement conferences before Magistrate Judge Mark J. Dinsmore in May and June 2012. By late June, the parties agreed to stipulations to resolve the pending motions by agreeing to withdraw them. The parties officially reported a settlement and the case was officially dismissed in November 2012.

Mark Scoville - 03/22/2011
Chelsea Rinnig - 03/01/2018


compress summary

- click to show/hide ALL -
Issues and Causes of Action
click to show/hide detail
Issues
Content of Injunction
Preliminary relief granted
General
Foster care (benefits, training)
Funding
Plaintiff Type
Private Plaintiff
Causes of Action 42 U.S.C. § 1983
Adoption Assistance Program, 42 U.S.C. § 670 et seq.
Defendant(s) Indiana Department of Child Services
Plaintiff Description Four classes of litigants consisting of foster parents and children directly receiving foster care maintenance payments or adoption assistance payments from the Indiana Department of Child Services
Indexed Lawyer Organizations ACLU Chapters (any)
Class action status sought Yes
Class action status granted Yes
Filed Pro Se No
Prevailing Party Plaintiff
Public Int. Lawyer Yes
Nature of Relief Preliminary injunction / Temp. restraining order
Injunction / Injunctive-like Settlement
Source of Relief Settlement
Form of Settlement Court Approved Settlement or Consent Decree
Filing Year 2009
Case Closing Year 2011
Case Ongoing No
Additional Resources
click to show/hide detail
  Legal Accountability in the Service-Based Welfare State: Lessons from Child Welfare Reform
Date: Summer 2009
By: Kathleen G. Noonan, Charles F. Sabel, William H. Simon (Center for High Impact Philanthropy , Columbia Law School and Stanford Law School Faculty)
Citation: 34 Law & Soc. Inquiry 523 (Summer 2009)
[ Detail ] [ External Link ]

Docket(s)
1:09-cv-01574-SEB-MJD (S.D. Ind.)
CW-IN-0001-9000.pdf | Detail
Date: 03/02/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
General Documents
Original Complaint [ECF# 1]
CW-IN-0001-0004.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Motion to Certify Class [ECF# 10]
CW-IN-0001-0002.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/22/2009
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
FIRST AMENDED CLASS ACTION COMPLAINT FOR DECLARATORY AND INJUNCTIVE RELIEF [ECF# 21]
CW-IN-0001-0005.pdf | Detail
Date: 01/10/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
ENTRY GRANTING A PRELIMINARY INJUNCTION [ECF# 48] (683 F.Supp.2d 865) (S.D. Ind.)
CW-IN-0001-0001.pdf | WESTLAW| LEXIS | Detail
Date: 01/26/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Plaintiffs’ Motion to Approve Form and Manner of Notice to the Class and Motion to Set Case for Fairness Hearing [ECF# 76]
CW-IN-0001-0007.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/19/2010
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Joint Stipulation of Dismissal [ECF# 88]
CW-IN-0001-0006.pdf | Detail
Date: 02/25/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Notice of Intent to Re-Open Litigation and Request for Hearing [ECF# 94]
CW-IN-0001-0008.pdf | Detail
Date: 11/30/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Amended and Supplemental Verified Complaint for Declaratory and Injunctive Relief [ECF# 96]
CW-IN-0001-0009.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/08/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Application for Preliminary Injunction [ECF# 97]
CW-IN-0001-0010.pdf | Detail
Date: 12/08/2011
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Stipulation Resolving Pending Motions [ECF# 133] (S.D. Ind.)
CW-IN-0001-0003.pdf | Detail
Date: 06/29/2012
Source: PACER [Public Access to Court Electronic Records]
Judges Barker, Sarah Evans (S.D. Ind.)
CW-IN-0001-0001 | CW-IN-0001-0006 | CW-IN-0001-9000
Dinsmore, Mark. J. (S.D. Ind.) [Magistrate]
CW-IN-0001-0003
Plaintiff's Lawyers Falk, Kenneth J. (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0002 | CW-IN-0001-0004 | CW-IN-0001-0005 | CW-IN-0001-0007 | CW-IN-0001-9000
Laramore, Jon B. (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0003 | CW-IN-0001-0006 | CW-IN-0001-0008 | CW-IN-0001-0009 | CW-IN-0001-0010 | CW-IN-0001-9000
Ricchiuto, Anne Kramer (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0003 | CW-IN-0001-0006 | CW-IN-0001-0008 | CW-IN-0001-0009 | CW-IN-0001-0010 | CW-IN-0001-9000
Rose, Gavin Minor (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0002 | CW-IN-0001-0004 | CW-IN-0001-0005 | CW-IN-0001-0007 | CW-IN-0001-9000
Sellers, April Edwards (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0003 | CW-IN-0001-0006 | CW-IN-0001-0008 | CW-IN-0001-0009 | CW-IN-0001-0010 | CW-IN-0001-9000
Defendant's Lawyers Cowgur, Anne L. (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0003
Isenberg, Betsy M (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0006 | CW-IN-0001-9000
Turner, Wayne C. (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0003
Ziepolt, Patrick A. (Indiana)
CW-IN-0001-0003

- click to show/hide ALL -

new search
page permalink

- top of page -