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Employee Sues DCS Over High Caseload

State of Indiana

A Department of Child Services case manager say she’s handling way too many cases, putting children’s lives at risk, because the agency won’t hire enough people.  Now, the ACLU is taking the state to court over the issue.

Indiana law mandates that DCS must have enough caseworkers so that one employee doesn’t supervise more than 17 children at a time.  Case manager Mary Price says her caseload is 43 children – too many, she says, to effectively handle. 

On behalf of Price and other DCS workers, the ACLU of Indiana is suing the state, seeking to force DCS to hire more case managers. 

ACLU legal director Ken Falk says he understands that DCS alone can’t fix the problem.

“I am not sure if DCS has the ability to achieve these standards without more support from the legislature; I suspect the legislature must step in,” Falk said. “But it’s the legislature’s standard and the state of Indiana is on the line here to protect children.”

The General Assembly, at DCS’ request, appropriated $7.5 million a year in the new state budget to hire 100 more case managers and 17 supervisors.  Falk says that’s not enough to get the job done. 

In a statement, DCS says it cannot comment on pending litigation. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.