INDIANAPOLIS – On Monday, the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG), who has been reviewing the Department of Child Services (DCS) since January, released its final report to the public: a 116 page document outlining dozens of the issues that Senate Democrats have been attempting to address for decades.
Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) was impressed with the general outcome of the report noting the thorough level of investigation and not withholding the extent of emergency within DCS.
“I am encouraged by this comprehensive report and am looking forward to seeing how the governor, in conjunction with the department, are able to implement as many of these recommendations as possible to ensure that we are providing the absolute best care and protection for our most vulnerable children.
“Among numerous concerning findings within the department’s current practice is that Indiana spends $24 million on drug testing each year while comparatively only a minute amount, just $4 million, is actually spent on treatment. This is just one example of the kind of backward policies Indiana has used for years, and it’s time we put our money where it matters and actually makes a difference.
“I am eager to get to work with my colleagues in the General Assembly during the interim study committee on DCS this summer to immediately execute any recommendations that must be done legislatively to serve families and keep children safe.
“At one time, foster families were receiving adequate stipends to fund child care so that parents could still work and provide for their families. Those stipends no longer exist causing parents to simply forego jobs since they are unable to afford the rising costs of child care. This specific challenge has led to an underwhelming number of foster parents compared to children in need of homes, a significant issue in our state. It is my hope that this specific challenge is one of the first to be addressed by the state.
“Indiana has clearly not invested enough in prevention, support and treatment services that help keep children out of the system. I commend the governor for finally listening to the calls from Democrats to open up the surplus and adequately fund one of the most important departments in our state. Our children, our families and our entire state will be much better for it.”