Indiana Department of Child Services

Child Welfare Agency Proposes Changes To State Law

21 hours ago
The Department of Child Services wants legislators to change some of the laws that govern the child welfare agency. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

The Department of Child Services wants legislators to change some of the laws that govern the child welfare agency.

Lawmakers debated those proposed changes in a study committee Wednesday.

Independent evaluator Paul Vincent (center left) and DCS Director Terry Stigdon (center right) discuss DCS issues with Indiana's Legislative Council. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he’s “disturbed” previous administrations ignored reports on the Department of Child Services.

Democratic lawmakers question whether this time will be different.

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush says a recent independent report on the Department of Child Services underscores the need for a wholesale approach to improving child welfare. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush says a recent independent report on the Department of Child Services underscores the need for a wholesale approach to improving child welfare.

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children discussed the report at its meeting Wednesday.

DCS Director Terry Stigdon, at left, and Gov. Eric Holcomb, right, discuss an independent evaluation of the embattled state agency. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday he'll spend $25 million from the state's surplus to help implement an independent evaluator’s recommended changes for the Department of Child Services.

Action on those changes comes after years of the state ignoring previous recommendations for the embattled agency.

DCS Director Terry Stigdon addresses a crowd of child advocates at the Statehouse celebration of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana leaders celebrated National Child Abuse Prevention Month Thursday amid controversy at the state’s child welfare agency.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Independent consultants investigating the Department of Child Services have identified significant potential shortages in the agency.

The consultants’ second public update shows possible challenges in legal representation, worker qualifications, and services.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

A Senate committee unanimously recommended creation of a special legislative study commission to investigate the Department of Child Services Monday.

Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Merrillville) authored the resolution. He says his proposed two-year commission is not meant to interfere with an ongoing, independent review of the embattled state agency.

“I think this is a great opportunity for legislators to remain engaged in this process,” Melton says.

Bill Aims To Improve DCS Communication With Schools

Feb 22, 2018
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

A bill passed through committee this week that aims to improve communications between schools, courts and the Department of Child Services.

The first part of the bill would require DCS to outline efforts to coordinate with a foster child’s school system. Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) authored the bill and says a case from his county highlights the problem.

"This child was 7-years-old and weighed 20 pounds and the only communication they had with the school was, here is the child," says Zay.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Legislation unanimously approved in a Senate committee Tuesday aims to strengthen Indiana’s human trafficking laws.

The bill makes several changes to current statute. It separates out labor trafficking and sex trafficking and better defines them both.

It also takes out the requirement in law that force must be involved in trafficking, because Rep. Sally Siegrist (R-West Lafayette) says that can be difficult to prove.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana met Wednesday in Indianapolis. The group received a brief update of what was happening with the state’s independent assessment of the Department of Child Services.

Newly appointed DCS Director Terry Stigdon says members of the review team have conducted many interviews.

"Providers that partners with DCS to provide care that’s needed to children," says Stigdon. "They have met with legislators as well."

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