House Speaker: Something Systematically Wrong With Indiana Dept. Of Child Services

By Mike Perleberg Indiana Statehouse (Indianapolis, Ind.) - Indiana lawmakers want to know why there are so many kids in state care, especially compared to some of our neighbors. House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) last week was one of many lawmakers who said there is something wrong with how Indiana manages its foster care system. The Indianapolis Star reported Sunday that Indiana has 29,315 in foster care during the 2016 fiscal year. That’s far more than every other neighboring state, including Illinois and Ohio which have larger populations than Indiana. Attention has been focused on the Indiana Department of Child Services since former director Mary Beth Bonaventura wrote a resignation letter to Governor Eric Holcomb last month. In the letter, Bonaventura claimed that service cuts and management changes “all but ensure children will die.” “I choose to resign, rather than be complicit in decreasing the safety, permanency and well-being of children who have nowhere else to turn,” she wrote. Holcomb’s response has been to hire Alabama-based non-profit Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group to complete a top-to-bottom assessment of DCS. Statehouse Democrats have demanded hearings about the state of DCS. House Minority Leader Terry Goodin (D-Austin) wrote a letter to Holcomb on Friday requesting that the investigative team include members of the General Assembly. “This request is one of sincerity in helping to resolve the issues currently plaguing DCS,” Goodin wrote, requesting a meeting on the matter with the governor. Supermajority Republicans, however, have resisted the calls for a concurrent legislative investigation of the child welfare agency. "I think as long as we have an open and fair and transparent and very public vetting of what this group finds out… that we will accomplish the same goal," Senate President Pro Tempore David Long (R-Fort Wayne) told The Star. Bosma says the legislature has added $600 million to the DCS budget for the current two-year budget. “So it’s not a money issue. We have a systemic issue," he stated. RELATED STORIES: Indiana’s Struggling Child Welfare System To Test Holcomb Holcomb Disputes Child Welfare Chief’s Claims Child Abuse, Neglect Deaths Rise In Indiana

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