Indiana settles DCS adoption suit for $15 million

The Indiana Department of Child Services announced Thursday it has reached a settlement with adoptive families who alleged the state had reneged on promised payments.

The state will pay $15.1 million to about 1,800 families who adopted special needs children. The settlement was filed in LaPorte Superior Court on Thursday afternoon and still needs court approval.

The settlement follows shortly after Gov. Mike Pence announced last month that the state would resume paying subsidies to the adoptive families.

The state took over adoption subsidies in 2009 from the counties but did not continue the practice of paying additional aid for families who adopted special needs children, which ultimately led to the lawsuit. The settlement covers payments dating back to 2009.

DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura said she understood what the families were going through because she is an adoptive parent herself.

"Today's announcement means financial resources will be available for parents who have faced challenges meeting the needs of their adopted children," Bonaventura said in a statement.

Irwin Levin, the Indianapolis lawyer who filed the suit, said in a written statement that the deal "will help adoptive families provide for the physical and emotional needs of the children. We're very happy the governor and Director Bonaventura were cooperative and agreed to get the adoptive families the help they need."

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