INDIANAPOLIS – A proposal authored by State Senator John Broden (D-South Bend) to streamline public records requests relating to the Department of Child Services cleared an important first hurdle unanimously on Thursday. Senate Bill (SB) 131 clarifies when the Department releases information related to near-fatalities.

“I am very pleased that SB 131 passed out of committee with a unanimous vote,” said Broden. “By opening up DCS records in these cases, we can better protect children and maybe prevent some of these horrific injuries to children in our community.”

The proposal would require the Department of Child Services to report a case when a child incurs a life threatening condition. Those conditions 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.

The proposal would also urge the Legislative Council to assign the topic of medical records disclosure in instances of child abuse or neglect to the appropriate interim study committee in the fall of 2016.
“When a child dies because of neglect or abuse, we have all failed. Understanding what went wrong will allow the Department of Child Services and other stakeholders to understand and hopefully right any problems so that they can be avoided in the future,” said Sen. Broden.

The proposal advanced out of the Senate Committee on Family and Child Services with unanimous support. It now heads to the full Senate where any member of the chamber can offer amendments. It could receive a final Senate vote as early as next week.

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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 https://www.indianasenatedemocrats.org/senators/s10/.

NOTE: A photo of Sen. John Broden can be downloaded at: https://www.indianasenatedemocrats.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/11/Broden.jpg