INDIANAPOLIS—Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) raised concerns today with the failure of the governor and his Department of Child Services agency to comply with laws outlining staffing and caseload requirements (IC 31-25-2-5). In a letter delivered to the governor on Thursday, Sen. Lanane expressed his concern with a lack of regard given to statutory measures in place to ensure the safety of the state’s vulnerable children.
Dear Governor Pence:
I read with concern the November 20 article in the Indianapolis Star about non-compliance with mandated caseload standards by the Department of Child Services case workers in all but one region of the state.
The article gives the impression that while caseload limitations are clearly required by statute, the department feels no compulsion to comply with them now or in the future. I appreciate the possibility the standards may need review and revision, but I am not sure why the department feels it can simply ignore the law today. I am laboring to see how I could justify such non-compliance with the law by the state of Indiana to my constituents.
My concern in this matter also stems from an understanding that past problems with Child Protective Services arose from understaffing of caseworkers. I know you share my belief that when it comes to the protection of our children, adequate staffing is not just a priority, but an absolute. That is why I was so troubled to hear that despite non-compliance in 18 of the state’s 19 regions, your agency made no formal request for supplementary funding to hire additional caseworkers and meet caseload requirements. All while the state maintains $2 billion in surplus funds. Commissioning a study, as the department stated they intend to do, is not enough. Our state’s most vulnerable deserve a guarantee that we are doing everything in our power to protect them.
I would hope the department would find some way to rectify this matter immediately and await your reply to my letter.
Timothy S. Lanane
Minority Leader of the Indiana State Senate
State Senator Representing Senate District 25
Sen. Lanane represents Indiana Senate District 25 which includes portions of Madison and Delaware counties, including the City of Muncie and the southeastern portion of the City of Anderson. For more information on Sen. Lanane, his legislative agenda or other State Senate business call 1-800-382-9467 or visit www.indianasenatedemocrats.org/S25 .