Department of Child Services

A House committee has approved legislation to track foster children and their success in schools.

The bill would require the Indiana Department of Education and the Department of Child Services to gather data on foster care students in public schools – specifically, the graduation rates and enrollment data for those students.

Deb Brewer is the regional director of a foster care and family services group called The Villages of Indiana, and she says that data could mean more support for foster children.

A bill that would raise the limit on children in a foster family from five to six is headed to the Senate floor. It passed the Senate Family and Children Services committee unanimously last week.

Cathy Graham, executive director of the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy, testified in favor of the bill. She says increasing the limit could help the Department of Child Services in emergency placements.

Gov. Eric Holcomb sought in his State of the State to reassure Hoosiers his administration will do “whatever it takes” to fix problems at the Department of Child Services.

But Democratic legislative leaders say Holcomb’s address lacked boldness and leadership, particularly when it comes to the ongoing DCS crisis.

Indiana legislative leaders anticipate Gov. Eric Holcomb will address recent controversy at the Department of Child Services in his 2018 State of the State address.

Former DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura warned current funding and policies would lead to child deaths. Holcomb directed an independent consultant to examine the agency.

Republican legislative leaders indicated Wednesday they will likely not take any significant action in the 2018 session to address issues at the Department of Child Services.

Democrats want the General Assembly to exert its oversight authority on the embattled child welfare agency.

Governor Holcomb Names New DCS Director

Dec 28, 2017

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced a new director for the Department of Child Services. He also called for a department assessment after the last director’s departure.

It was earlier this month when Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura sent a long resignation letter to the governor. In it she expressed her concern for the wellbeing of Hoosier children due to changes in the department, funding cuts and an increased number of children in the system.

Katherine Peraza poses with her her 3-month-old son. (Jill Sheridan/IPB News)
(Jill Sheridan/IPB News)

The Republican-led Indiana General Assembly crafted a two-year state budget that spends about $32 billion while maintaining what Speaker Brian Bosma calls a “healthy reserve.”

Even as Indiana’s new revenue forecast gave an optimistic outlook, House and Senate fiscal leaders didn’t waiver from their conservative appropriations.

Yet Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb achieved some of his legislative goals during his first budget session.

A House committee moved a bill to the floor legalizing so-called “baby boxes” while putting in jeopardy the status of the state’s two existing devices.

Baby boxes are meant to be a more anonymous way for someone to leave an unwanted newborn. There are concerns surrounding the devices, focused on a lack of testing, industry standards, or best practices.

Committee Approves Adoption Background Check Change

Jan 30, 2017

 

Legislation approved by a House committee would no longer require adoption agencies to check a national registry of child abuse and neglect cases because the registry doesn’t exist.

State law requires adoption providers to do a criminal history check of prospective adoptive parents. As part of those background checks, providers must consult a national registry of child abuse and neglect cases.

But Department of Child Services legislative director Parvonay Stover says the registry doesn’t exist.