SEVERE WX : Flood Warning View Alerts

Indiana seeks to keep records sealed in child services case

Lawyers for Indiana's Department of Child Services are pushing to seal records in a federal class action lawsuit accusing the child welfare agency of inadequately protecting thousands of children in its care.

Posted: Sep 10, 2019 4:17 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Lawyers for Indiana's Department of Child Services are pushing to seal records in a federal class action lawsuit accusing the child welfare agency of inadequately protecting thousands of children in its care.

In a brief filed Aug. 23, attorneys for Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb and DCS Director Terry Stigdon said sealing the documents would protect the children in the case.

Two child advocacy groups, A Better Childhood and Indiana Disability Rights, and the international law firm Kirkland & Ellis filed a brief Friday on behalf of numerous foster children that questioned whose privacy the state's brief sought to protect, The Journal Gazette reported.

"Plaintiffs have never contended that access to the children's individually identifiable information, such as their names, addresses, or birthdates, are in the public interest. However, the details of Plaintiffs' allegations, and the children's stories as they relate to structural deficiencies in Indiana's child welfare agencies, are most certainly in the public interest," court records show.

The original lawsuit, filed in June, alleges that the state agency failed to protect 22,000 children with open child welfare cases, which includes more than 14,000 who are in out-of-home care.

Indiana's DCS has defended its work.

Marcia Lowry, executive director of A Better Childhood, said the law unmistakably makes actual court records private, such as the docket in the case. But information derived from the documents is public, she noted. Lowry added that the children are safeguarded; their names are altered and personal information that could identify them is redacted.

"We think it's important to tell the children's stories — what happened to them, what kind of harm they went through. We think the state is taking way too broad a position," Lowry said.

But Indiana's attorneys noted in the brief that all lawyers have equal access to the closed records, and no one is prejudiced.

The state has also requested a stop to the exchange of official documents until the motion to dismiss has been ruled on. If the case continues, Indiana additionally asked for each child's claim to be litigated individually "given the unique, individualized nature of each Plaintiff and his or her unique history and circumstances."

Lafayette
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 45° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 38°
Kokomo
Partly Cloudy
34° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 27°
Rensselaer
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 42° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 26°
Lafayette
Clear
38° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 21°
Feels Like: 38°
Danville
Clear
36° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 29°
Frankfort
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 23°
Feels Like: 26°
Frankfort
Clear
34° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 22°
Feels Like: 26°
Monticello
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 43° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 25°
Monticello
Clear
33° wxIcon
Hi: 44° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 25°
Logansport
Clear
32° wxIcon
Hi: 41° Lo: 20°
Feels Like: 24°
Nice, mild weather....more active by late next week.
WLFI Radar
WLFI Temps
WLFI Planner

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Cases: 662213

Reported Deaths: 12595
CountyCasesDeaths
Marion907061645
Lake48425878
Allen35861636
Hamilton32099397
St. Joseph29996512
Elkhart25386415
Vanderburgh21247378
Tippecanoe20024201
Johnson16349360
Porter15975270
Hendricks15825300
Clark11965181
Madison11746318
Vigo11612229
Monroe10333161
Delaware9838179
LaPorte9772196
Howard9056197
Kosciusko8562110
Bartholomew7456147
Warrick7416151
Hancock7409131
Floyd7207169
Wayne6633191
Grant6427157
Morgan6092125
Boone609088
Dubois5910111
Dearborn547467
Cass544499
Marshall5425104
Henry542393
Noble509378
Jackson464767
Shelby460690
Lawrence4184112
Gibson401281
Harrison399864
Clinton395853
Montgomery387083
DeKalb385278
Knox357485
Miami357463
Whitley349436
Huntington344476
Steuben338355
Wabash331476
Putnam330559
Ripley327161
Adams323549
Jasper316143
White297352
Jefferson294973
Daviess285396
Fayette271956
Decatur270888
Greene261280
Posey260931
Wells258275
Scott250350
Clay241444
LaGrange240870
Randolph225576
Spencer217330
Jennings215244
Washington211227
Sullivan203439
Fountain201542
Starke188151
Owen182153
Fulton178237
Jay177828
Carroll176518
Perry173235
Orange171250
Rush164822
Vermillion160542
Franklin159435
Tipton146441
Parke139316
Pike127632
Blackford120627
Pulaski106444
Newton96531
Brown95039
Benton92013
Crawford90713
Martin80114
Warren75814
Switzerland7548
Union67110
Ohio53711
Unassigned0433

COVID-19 Important links and resources

As the spread of COVID-19, or as it's more commonly known as the coronavirus continues, this page will serve as your one-stop for the resources you need to stay informed and to keep you and your family safe. CLICK HERE

Closings related to the prevention of the COVID-19 can be found on our Closings page.

Community Events