374 F.Supp. 1204 (N.D.Ill. 1974), 73 C 635, Youakim v. Miller

Docket Nº:73 C 635.
Citation:374 F.Supp. 1204
Party Name:Marcel YOUAKIM et al., Plaintiffs, v. Jerome MILLER Individually and as Director of the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Children and Family Services, of the State of Illinois, Defendants.
Case Date:February 28, 1974
Court:United States District Courts, 7th Circuit, Northern District of Illinois
 
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Page 1204

374 F.Supp. 1204 (N.D.Ill. 1974)

Marcel YOUAKIM et al., Plaintiffs,

v.

Jerome MILLER Individually and as Director of the Department of Children and Family Services and the Department of Children and Family Services, of the State of Illinois, Defendants.

No. 73 C 635.

United States District Court, N.D. Illinois, Eastern Division.

Feb. 28, 1974

Page 1205

Patrick A. Keenan, Chicago, Ill., for plaintiffs; of counsel Bogdan Martinovich, Senior Law Student, De Paul Law Clinic.

William J. Scott, Atty. Gen., State of Ill., Richard L. Ryan, Asst. Atty. Gen., Chicago, Ill., for defendants.

Before STEVENS, Circuit Judge, and MAROVITZ and TONE, District judges.

MEMORANDUM OF DECISION

TONE, District Judge.

This suit was commenced as a class action to enjoin the operation of the Illinois foster home program. Under that program foster parents who provide homes for children unrelated to them receive monthly foster care payments from the Department of Children and Family Services, but foster parents who provide homes for children related to them do not receive such payments. Because plaintiffs seek to enjoin the operation of a state statute, a three-judge court was convened pursuant to 28 U.S.C. §§ 2281, 2284. Defendants have now moved to strike and dismiss.

The Illinois statutory scheme allocates federally subsidized payments to foster parents who care for children who are wards of the state. Section 5 of the Department of Children and Family Services Act, Ill.Rev.Stat., 1971, Ch. 23, § 5005, empowers the Department ('CFS') and its Director to

(a) establish rules and regulations concerning foster care;

(b) accept for care and placement in foster homes children adjudicated wards of the state; and

(c) make payments for the board, clothing, care, training and supervision of children placed in licensed foster homes.

Under the Department's eligibility criteria, eligibility for monthly payments, which now approximate $105 per child, depends upon the economic status of the home from which the child was removed, not on the wealth of the foster parents. By authorizing payments only to licensed homes, Section 5 denies eligibility to foster parents providing homes for children related to them, because those foster parents are exempt from licensing under the Child Care Act of 1969, Ill.Rev.Stat., 1971, Ch. 23, §§ 2212.05, 2212.17, and thus cannot be licensed. 1

Page 1206

Foster parents caring for related children are eligible for Aid to Families with Dependent Children ('AFDC') payments under Ill.Rev.Stat., 1971, Ch. 23, §§ 4-1 to 4-11, but in order to receive these payments they must make a separate application to the Department of Public Aid, and more importantly, these monthly payments are only about $63.00 per child. In addition to the AFDC payments, some foster families in which the parents and children are related receive additional funds from the Social Service Administration up to the amount of the foster care payments, if the Department of Children and Family Services makes a determination of need. This exception to the general practice is explained only in the CFS placement manual, but according to an affidavit filed by an administrator of CFS, approximately 140 of the 1500 related foster families in the state now receive this extra allowance.

Plaintiffs are Marcel and Linda Youakim, husband and wife; Timothy and Mary Lou Robertson, the minor brother and sister of Linda Youakim who have been living with their foster parents the Youakims since 1972; and Larry and Sherry Robertson, the minor brother and sister of Linda Youakim who have been living in foster care facilities operated by persons unrelated to them since 1969. The Youakims allege that because they do not receive the full foster care payments, they suffer severe financial hardship in caring for Timothy and Mary Lou, and are financially unable to take in Larry and Sherry. On behalf of themselves and all other persons similarly situated, plaintiffs assert that the distinction between related and unrelated foster parents for the purpose of determining eligibility for foster care benefits denies them equal protection of the laws as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment, and they ask that defendants, the Illinois Department of Family Services and its director, be enjoined from enforcing, applying or executing this program.

Pursuant to Rule 12(b) of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, defendants have moved to strike and dismiss the complaint, asserting, in addition to an abstention ground which we do not reach, that

(1) the Court does not have jurisdiction over the subject matter;

(2) the action should not be maintained as a class action; and

(3) plaintiffs have failed to state a claim upon which relief may be granted.

Both sides having filed affidavits asserting facts outside the pleadings, we treat the motion as one for summary judgment, as we are authorized to do by the last sentence of Rule 12(b).

At the oral argument plaintiffs urged that an evidentiary hearing should be held. In the view we take of the case, if the evidence most favorable to plaintiffs' contentions is assumed, judgment must be entered for defendants. An evidentiary hearing is, therefore, unnecessary.

Jurisdiction.

Defendants argue that this Court lacks jurisdiction because the action is in effect against the State of Illinois...

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