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IN Dept of Child Services director resigns

Department of Child Services director James Payne resigned from his post Monday in the wake of allegations of impropriety regarding the DCS and a case involving his own family.  DCS Chief of Staff John Ryan now heads the state agency.

Payne’s resignation comes after allegations that he interfered with a child neglect investigation involving his grandchildren.  Payne’s son was involved in a bitter divorce from his wife and Payne is alleged to have worked to discredit DCS caseworkers on behalf of his son.

Governor Mitch Daniels issued a statement praising Payne’s service as head of DCS, saying thousands of Hoosier children are better off because of his leadership. 

News of the resignation came just minutes before the start of a legislative study committee meeting looking into DCS practices.  Democratic members of the committee had called for a state investigation into the allegations surrounding Payne. State Representative Gail Riecken (D-Evansville) says his resignation doesn’t change that.

“We think that the issues are - we’re just now hearing about them and we don’t know how far down they go into the department and I think we need to know that.”

State Representative Cindy Noe (R-Indianapolis), the study committee’s co-chair, says those investigations are outside the legislature’s purview.

“You have the Commission on Ethics as well as the inspector general.  In this instance, those entities will not be used because this issue has been resolved within the executive branch of government.”

Noe says the allegations should not erase the good that Payne has done for the state. 

Brandon Smith is excited to be working for public radio in Indiana. He has previously worked in public radio as a reporter and anchor in mid-Missouri for KBIA Radio out of Columbia. Prior to that, he worked for WSPY Radio in Plano, Illinois as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. His first job in radio was in another state capitol, in Jefferson City, Missouri, as a reporter for three radio stations around Missouri. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.