Lawmakers Speak Out On DCS Issues

INDIANAPOLIS - WISH- Parts of the system honestly need to be repaired. That's what several foster families have told us about the Department of Child Services today and in recent weeks.

This comes as an outside firm continues analyzing the department. On Monday, lawmakers continued their own push to reinforce the troubled department.

By now, you know DCS has a new Director, who has pledged a new day within the department. An independent consulting firm will release another report in about 2 weeks, as they audit DCS.

Monday, Democrat State Senator Eddie Melton said he's hoping he and lawmakers on both sides of the aisle can work together on issues, legislatively, within DCS.

Jacklin Caudill's eyes light up when you ask her what it's like to be the foster mother of 6 week old baby girl.

Caudill explained "It is exhausting! I am tired, but it has brought me a lot of joy to see her grow already."
What doesn't necessarily bring her so much joy...

Caudill said "I would describe right now as rough. There definitely needs to be some changes. I feel like the children need to come first, and not always the biological parent"; Is the Department of Child Services.

"I think the communication lacks. I feel like there is a lot more cases than they can handle right now," Caudill explained. "There's a shortage in case workers, and a huge turnover rate."

Concerns like those are partly why State Senator Ed Melton introduced a resolution today, that urges lawmakers to create a 2-year bipartisan summer study committee--focused entirely on DCS.

Ed Melon, a Democrat from Merrillville said "That would address some of the issues and allegations that come around the Department of Child Services."

The committee would go over the allegations levied against DCS in a scathing resignation letter written by former director, Mary Beth Bonaventura. Melton said the committee might want to hear from

"I think that could be an option. If she's willing to come forth, I think she could bring a lot of valuable information," He explained.

We took parents concerns straight to the Governor Monday, particularly about the "fine tooth combing" of DCS.

Governor Eric Holcomb  said "We are going to have a fine-tooth combing of DCS. It's going to be a non-partisan analysis. I look forward to working with the Senator on that."

Bottom line, some foster parents seem to like the idea of all this action, at least on the surface.

Pam Owens, a foster parent, said she has welcomed about 170 foster children into her home through the years

"I think revamping the system is a good idea," Owens explained. "What I have a reservation about is does that take away from the children we're trying to serve?"

Melton said he's optimistic he'll get this resolution passed and through Senate chambers.

Melton said a vote on the resolution could happen within the next two weeks.


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