Statement issued Tuesday by IARCCA:
INDIANAPOLIS — More than 100 private child welfare agencies have joined together through the Indiana Association of Residential Child Care Agencies, their membership association, to seek an injunction in Marion County against the State of Indiana. The agencies join the suit to preserve critical funding in response to the State's payment cuts of as much as 20 percent to foster care services and 16 percent to residential care. The agencies, which collectively care for more than 4,600 children in foster and residential care, join the suit to seek relief from unfair and inadequate payment rates.
"These budget cuts will have an immediate negative impact on the State's most vulnerable children and families," said IARCCA Executive Director, Cathleen Graham. "If an agreement is not reached by Dec. 14, many children across Indiana will be uprooted and forced to move from their current homes – right before the holidays."
The child welfare association named in the suit contends that the new rates of payment prescribed by this contract are inadequate, and violate the rights of agencies and children placed under the agreement. Agencies are also interested in the development of a rate establishment process to better understand how rates are determined in addition to an appeal process if they disagree with the rate set by the state.
The State has demanded that all Indiana residential care agencies sign contracts and accept the funding reductions by Dec. 14, and foster care agencies must agree to contracts within 5 days of receipt or they will be terminated as providers. As a result, many agencies will be forced to make difficult decisions related to the care of Indiana's children.
"We realize that this is a tough economy, and we're willing to do our part," said Graham. "But we cannot bear this kind of reduction; it will have a tremendous impact on children who are already at a disadvantage in life. Other states in poorer condition than Indiana are not cutting money that benefits children."
Representing approximately 110 member agencies in Indiana, IARCCA provides a broad array of services, including residential care, foster care, transitional/independent living, home-based services, shelter care and crisis stabilization. IARCCA…An Association of Children & Family Services is a 501(c)(4) IRS classified nonprofit association of concerned agencies who not only care for children and families, but also care about them. Founded in 1944, IARCCA has made a commitment to service by bringing together a diverse group of providers into a cohesive organization, committed to the provision of quality services so that these children and families may lead healthy and productive lives in our communities.