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Monday, September 10, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - More on "DCS call center scrutinized: Workers blast turnover, 'screenouts' as study panel girds for testimony this week."

Updating this ILB entry from Sept. 3rd, and this one from Sept. 5th (with video of the testimony available here), Eric Bradner of the Evansville Couirer & Press posted this long story the evening of the public hearing on the child abuse hotline.

This Sunday's Fort Wayne Journal Gazette ran this editorial that begins and ends:

The sad and frustrating stories shared with a committee studying the performance of Indiana’s child protection agency would be enough for almost any public official to demand drastic and immediate changes. But Hoosiers by now have reason to fear that any changes in protecting Indiana’s most vulnerable residents will be another battle with an administration claiming someone else messed up.

That was the sad reality behind Indiana’s welfare privatization debacle. And it’s playing out the same way for the Department of Child Services’ centralized hotline for reporting suspected abuse and neglect.

Changes appear to be inevitable, but the risk to children is too high to wait for DCS to step up with a face-saving plan. Hundreds of local child protection workers, advocates, public safety officers and judicial representatives have the experience, knowledge and ability to make immediate changes.

“Put simply, the power of DCS exceeds its expertise,” said Carole Davis, an Evansville child advocate, in testimony before a legislative study committee Wednesday. “DCS is broken.” * * *

Complaints about the abuse and neglect hotline finally prompted DCS to initiate a pilot project with some improvements in the reporting process, but the call-center operation continues to have too much authority in determining which calls justify a response.

DCS officials are failing to protect Indiana children. It’s time to turn to the local officials who know their communities and won’t allow so many children to be lost in the crack.

Meanwhile, the Indianapolis Star, whose reporters have had a number of stories on problems with DCS and the hotline, ran an editorial yesterday that began:
The long-term mission to better protect children in Indiana from abuse and neglect is in danger of becoming just another political argument that divides Hoosiers along partisan lines.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 10, 2012 10:20 AM
Posted to Indiana Government