On August 22, Senate Democratic members of the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee joined with their colleagues in the House of Representatives to discuss their concerns about the group’s mission and outline their objectives for future meetings.
In a media availability prior to the review committee’s first meeting, Senate Democratic Assistant Leader Tim Lanane and State Senator John Broden reinforced the importance of protecting Hoosier children and that their intention is to use the study committees as a mechanism to improve the current system.
In the same media availability, Democrats also called for two of the review committee’s meetings to be held in communities outside of Indianapolis. The proposed meetings outside the Statehouse would be in an effort to allow those who would like to participate in these hearings an opportunity to partake.
Hear statements from Sens. Lanane and Broden at today’s media availability:
SEN. LANANE: “The policy of the state of Indiana when it comes to the protection of our children is paramount…”
SEN. LANANE: “We’re not going to cut corners when it comes to protecting our children…”
SEN. LANANE: “We’re not going to hide our head in the sand…”
SEN. BRODEN: “Clearly we know we are falling short in certain areas, and I hope we can use these hearings as an opportunity …”
The Indiana Department of Child Services has recently been criticized for their implementation of a centralized child abuse and neglect hotline staffed by workers in Indianapolis. The Indianapolis call center serves as a single intake point for the entire state and determines which cases are delegated to local officials.
The entire August 22 committee meeting agenda was occupied by a lengthy presentation by DCS explaining the history of the agency from 2005 to present. Limited questioning by committee members was permitted following the four presentation.
The Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee is set to meet again on September 5 to hear further testimony on the child abuse and neglect hotline.