DCS Case Managers File Suit against Department for Violating State Law on Caseloads

Affiliate: ACLU of Indiana
July 14, 2015 2:45 pm

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Tuesday, July 14, 2015
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Indianapolis – A case manager at the Indiana Department of Child Services filed a lawsuit today claiming that the failure of DCS to adequately staff the department as required by law does not allow her and her colleagues to keep caseloads at levels that allow children to be effectively protected and served.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana brought the class-action lawsuit on behalf of DCS family case manager Mary Price and other case managers against DCS for violating Indiana Code § 31-25-2-5, which mandates the maximum number of caseloads case managers may have. According to the law, a case manager such as Price, who monitors and supervises active cases of child abuse and neglect, may supervise no more than 17 children at one time. Price, whose current caseload is 43 children, contends that it is extremely difficult, if not impossible, to effectively meet all their needs even when she works significantly more than 40 hours per week.

“We are asking the court for an injunction to force DCS to address the urgent need for more case managers,” said Ken Falk, ACLU of Indiana legal director. “The department is required by law to meet the case ratios laid out by the Indiana General Assembly more than seven years ago, and the legislature must appropriate sufficient funds to meet these requirements.”

“It’s not enough to simply pass laws that say we’ll do the right thing,” said ACLU of Indiana Executive Director Jane Henegar. “The purpose of caseload limits is the safety and welfare of vulnerable children. We expect government to meet the letter and the spirit of the law, providing children with the protections they deserve.”

The case, Mary Price, et al., v. Indiana Department of Child Services, case 49D01-1507-PL-023062 was filed in the Marion Superior Court on July 14, 2015.

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