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Sunday, August 26, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - "Overdue answers from DCS"

Wednesday, Sept. 5th, the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee will meet for the second time. Discussion will focus on the child abuse and neglect hotline with public and written testimony. Here is the agenda. Note that it does not state that the meeting will be videocast.

The first meeting was August 22nd. See ILB entries here and here.

An editorial today in the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette remarks:

A public relations effort paints the work of Indiana’s child protection agency as among the best in the nation. But under the scrutiny of judges, child advocates, health officials and lawmakers familiar with their work, agency officials issued an almost apologetic response to troubling questions about their performance. * * *

DCS officials offered the first testimony Wednesday, with Director James Payne boasting of the agency’s work even as news of another Indiana child’s death was breaking. Three-year-old Carmen Ellis died Wednesday, and her mother’s boyfriend was arrested on a preliminary charge of murder. A month earlier, DCS had investigated an abuse complaint at her home. The agency confirmed the contact, but cited confidentiality in refusing to release further details.

A story about 3-year-old Carmen Ellis ,from the IndyStar's Tim Evans and Kristine Guerra, appears in today's Louisville Courier Journal under the headline: "Indiana agency was warned of possible abuse weeks before 3-year-old's murder." It begins:
INDIANAPOLIS — Chasity Parksey can’t find the word to express her feelings as she scrolls through photographs on her smart phone — images she was certain someone from the Department of Child Services would want to see.

The photos are of 3-year-old Carmen Ellis. One depicts a bruise on her right cheek. The other shows similar bruises on her left cheek and another over her eye.

Parksey snapped the photos on July 13 during a visit to an Indianapolis home where her sister and the woman’s boyfriend lived with another couple and two small children. She also called police.

Parksey said she saved the pictures of Carmen on her phone, expecting someone from DCS to follow up with her.

But no one from DCS ever contacted Parksey. Nor, she said, did anyone from the Indianapolis Metropolitan Police Department.

On Monday — roughly five weeks after Parksey snapped those photos and alerted police, who in turn alerted DCS — police responded to another call at a different Indianapolis home. This time they found Carmen “covered head to toe in bruises.” She died the next day.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 26, 2012 02:17 PM
Posted to Indiana Government