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ROBINSON v. WASHINGTON

November 18, 1968

Irene ROBINSON et al., Plaintiffs,
v.
Walter E. WASHINGTON et al., Defendants



The opinion of the court was delivered by: CORCORAN

 CORCORAN, District Judge.

 This action is founded upon a complaint for declaratory judgment and injunctive relief by Irene Robinson and others of her class. The dispute grows out of the administration by the District of Columbia Welfare Department of the "Aid to Families with Dependent Children" program ("AFDC") authorized by the Social Security Act of 1935, 42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(9); 42 U.S.C. § 606(a).

 The plaintiffs have moved for summary judgment and the defendants have countered with a motion to remand all proceedings to the D.C. Welfare Department for review and further proceedings in the light of recent innovations in the D.C. welfare program following King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 88 S. Ct. 2128, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1118 (1968).

 A. Facts

 The facts essential to this decision are not in dispute. As drawn from affidavits and oral testimony, they are:

 (1) The District of Columbia through the District of Columbia Welfare Department (herein Welfare Department) participates in the Federal program entitled "Aid to Families with Dependent Children" (the "AFDC" program) established by the Social Security Act of 1935, 42 U.S.C. § 602(a)(9); 42 U.S.C. § 606(a).

 (2) To administer the "AFDC" program the Welfare Department promulgated a "Handbook of Public Assistance Policies and Procedures" (herein "the Handbook" which declared ineligible for assistance any mother of dependent minor children who was maintaining a continuing relationship in her home with a man who, under such regulations, might be considered as a "substitute parent." (Section EL 4.5 IV C of the Handbook.) *fn1"

 (3) The plaintiff Irene Robinson, mother of several minor children, applied for benefits under the "AFDC" program and her application was approved February 22, 1966.

 (4) On August 26, 1966 the assistance payments to the plaintiff were suspended pending a determination as to whether the plaintiff was maintaining a continuing relationship in her home with a man, not her husband.

 (5) There followed several administrative proceedings and finally on December 5, 1966 the Welfare Department notified plaintiff that the assistance payments to her and her children were terminated because of her failure to meet the requirements for eligibility under the "substitute parent" rule.

 (6) Others of plaintiff's class, recipients of assistance under the "AFDC" program have likewise been denied payments by the Department of Welfare pursuant to the "substitute parent" rule.

 (7) The "substitute parent" rule (EL 4.5 IV C of the Handbook) is a regulation which was never adopted by the former District of Columbia Board of Commissioners as required by § 3-202(b) and § 3-220 D.C.Code (1967 ed.). On June 17, 1968 in the case of Stewart v. Washington, 301 F. Supp. 610, this Court ruled that another section of the Handbook, viz., EL 13.1, adopted in the same manner as the section under scrutiny, was a regulation, was not adopted in the manner prescribed by §§ 3-202(b), 3-220 D.C.Code (1967 ed.) and consequently was invalidly promulgated.

 (8) During the pendency of this suit, to wit on June 17, 1968, the Supreme Court of the United States in King v. Smith, 392 U.S. 309, 88 S. Ct. 2128, 20 L. Ed. 2d 1118 (1968) ruled that a "substitute parent" regulation promulgated by the State of Alabama, similar to that under scrutiny, was inconsistent with Section ...


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