INDIANAPOLIS – On Tuesday, a bill authored by State Senator John Broden (D-South Bend) to improve the Department of Child Services (DCS) transparency was approved by the Senate. Senate Bill (SB) 131 would require the Department of Child Services to produce additional information regarding near-fatalities in order to prevent future deaths and harmful incidents. 

“It is my hope that understanding what went wrong in the case of a neglected or abused child will allow the Department of Child Services and other stakeholders to understand and fix any problems so that they can be avoided in the future,” said Sen. Broden.

By opening up DCS records in these cases, SB 131 would require the Department of Child Services to report a case when a child incurs a life threatening condition. Reporting requirements would be redefined in the proposal to include a patient categorized as “serious” or “critical” on patient hospital records or when a child receives critical care treatment for at least 24 hours after admission to a critical care unit. The initiative also redefines “near fatality” as a child who sustained a severe childhood injury or condition that is certified by a physician as being life threatening.

“A DCS report from 2013 stated 49 children in Indiana died from abuse or neglect. When the welfare of these children is entrusted to the state, the state must ensure every measure is taken to ensure the safety of the child,” said Sen. Broden. “SB 131 would also urge the study of the medical records disclosure in instances of child abuse or neglect in order to prevent these tragedies and better protect our children.”

SB 131 unanimously passed the Senate by a vote of 49-0. The proposal will now move to the House of Representatives for further consideration.

Sen. Broden represents Indiana State Senate District 10, which includes the cities of South Bend and Mishawaka, as well as the University of Notre Dame. For more information on Sen. Broden, his legislative agenda, or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit
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