Indiana Foster Kids Fight Back: A Pending Class-Action Lawsuit Was Filed Against Indiana Department of Child Services, Governor Holcomb

We’re Robert and Kathey Raskin, and we’re delighted to learn that the children in Indiana’s child welfare system are fighting back against the apathy that they’re in. We’re proud of these patriots standing up and claiming what’s theirs: a fair and just examination of the fouled-up system that they’re in here. Their allegations stem from their opinion that Indiana is failing in its duty to protect more than 22,000 children in the state’ child welfare system.

We’ve written about the state of affairs that makes up the welfare system for children in Indiana in the past. We always try and follow up on previously reported locations to provide timely updates on what’s happening out there. We’re not a one and done blog. We stay on top of everything that concerns what we see as the lethargy and corruption that plagues the system worldwide. The entirety of the child welfare system deserves a closer look. We reveal what we can here.

Failure to Protect the Kids

The lawsuit alleges that the nine children – unnamed for their privacy – felt that the state put them in inappropriate, unstable, or overly restrictive settings. They represent a class of 22,000 children who are in DCS custody, as well as an ADA subclass of thousands of children with disabilities who are wards. They didn’t receive the necessary support services and medical care. Their medical care, mental health, and physical needs are hampered by irregular DCS assessments and the lack of available resources.

Furthermore, they weren’t given meaningful case management resulting in delayed or no services and little oversight of a child. All these factors – among many others – allowed children to languish in foster care for years. Eventually, they were reunified with their primary caretakers, adopted, or aged out of the system.

Statistics Mean Nothing Without Tangible Results

The Child Welfare Consulting Group criticized the agency’s disorganization in a 2018 audit. The agency claimed to have made changes – too little, too late, we say – including a 17 percent decrease in total cases since January 2018 and a 14 percent decrease in out-of-home placements. They claim staff turnover is down 18 percent, and attorney caseloads are lessened as well. They added 25 positions since January 2019.

But the kids are smart. Their lawsuit points this out by alleging DCS appears to focus more on improving statistics. They still failed to properly investigate allegations, or they would send children home too quickly and without necessary services and aftercare. They demand that Indiana transform its foster care system, including acquiring properly trained caseworkers to meet the needs of foster children.

Here’s more information about the lawsuit below:

Indiana’s Poor Deserve Better From DCS

In Indiana, being poor while parenting is a crime, and the punishment is the removal of your children.

Indiana, why aren’t you helping poor parents instead of taking their children away? That is what we, Robert and Kathleen Raskin, will be discussing today. Most states do not consider the inability to provide for your child to be a crime, but Indiana is one of the few that do, despite having no evidence that demonstrates rates of child abuse among the poor are any higher than they are for any other group. In fact, of all reported risk factors children in the state face, the only group that showed higher than average rates of abuse were those families that were suffering from financial issues.

Reports have shown nearly 90% of reported child welfare cases in the state’s system are due to neglect, but is it neglect if a parent can’t pay the bills? If a family is suffering from financial issues that are detrimental to children but the parents are otherwise caring, it is the state’s duty to intervene and act in the child’s best interests. Studies have shown approximately 28% of children are abused in the foster care system, so if they aren’t being abused at home it is most definitely not in their best interests to be removed.

Foster Care Abuse Statistics

  • Nationwide, 71.8% of child fatalities were younger than 3 years old, putting children who are non-verbal and cannot report foster care abuse at higher risk.
  • In Indiana in 2017, 59 children were murdered by foster parents.
  • That same year, 126,719 completed child abuse reports were made between 880 investigators, meaning each investigator averaged 14.45 investigations per year.
  • Physical and sexual abuse reports have declined in Indiana, while cases involving neglect have substantially increased.
  • Rates of substantiated neglect in the state did not increase, only investigations that did not find neglect.
  • In 2017, the state had the nation’s 14th highest opioid overdose rate, which has been fueled by poverty.
  • African-American children are overrepresented in the state’s DCS system, and 28% of those who live in poverty in the state are Black, making this the largest group.

When we know poverty and drug abuse are factors that are leading to the removal of children and it’s not necessarily leading to better outcomes for Indiana’s families, it’s time to take a good, hard look at the system and determine where the disconnect is.

We’ll give you a hint, Indiana lawmakers: The disconnect is located in your most poverty-stricken communities, and it’s time to do something about it instead of kidnapping their children.


Poverty is on the rise in Indiana.


One Indiana mother’s DCS horror story.