« Ind. Courts - "Of course Mark Massa should have recused himself" | Main | Ind. Courts - More on "How sex crimes ruin lives and challenge our justice system" »

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Ind. Courts - More on: Inaugural Meeting Set for State Commission on Improving the Status of Children

Updating this ILB entry from August 13th, the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette has an editorial today that reads:

A high-powered committee convenes Wednesday for work that bodes well for Indiana children. The State Commission on Improving the Status of Children is comprised of the top officials in charge of services for the state’s youngest residents.

The commission was established under Senate Enrolled Act 125, authored by Sens. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, and John Broden, D-South Bend, to address long-standing problems in Indiana’s child protection services. Department of Child Services Director James Payne resigned last September after a troubled tenure of nearly eight years. DCS drew complaints from judges, service providers, child advocates, health officials and lawmakers across the state as spending was slashed and control was shifted from counties to Indianapolis.

After years of failing leadership, the powerful panel is an encouraging sign the state is moving in the right direction. With Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush as chair, Gov. Mike Pence sends a strong message that Indiana intends to do what’s best for its children.

“This unprecedented cross-agency collaboration is vital,” Rush said in a news release. “All three branches of government are coming together to realize overall systems improvements for Indiana’s youth.”

Holdman, who co-chaired last year’s DCS oversight committee, said Rush was insistent on naming top state executives to the commission.

“Her fear was that if they delegated the work to others, we would lose the consistency and urgency,” he said. * * *

Holdman said he’s pleased with the new direction of DCS, first under interim director John Ryan and now under Mary Beth Bonaventura, the former Lake County Juvenile Division judge appointed by Pence in February.

“Director Bonaventura got right in and got to work – collaborating with provider groups, foster homes – trying to turn the page on some of the issues,” he said. * * *

The bold statement the administration has made in filling the commission is an excellent sign that Indiana children finally will be Priority One.

The editorial has a sidebar headed "High-powered panel" listing the membership:
Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta H. Rush, chairwoman
Mary Beth Bonaventura, director of Department of Child Services
Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse
Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle
Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville
Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson
Glenda Ritz, superintendent of public instruction
David Powell, director, Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council
Larry Landis, director, Indiana Public Defender Council
Debra Minott, secretary, Family and Social Services Administration
Kevin Moore, director, Division of Mental Health and Addiction
Susan Lightfoot, chief probation officer, Henry County Probation Department
Brian Bailey, director, Indiana State Budget Agency
Ryan Streeter, senior policy director for Gov. Mike Pence
Attorney General Greg Zoeller
ILB: Again, as I wrote last week - No word on whether the meeting will be videocast so that it can be viewed throughout the State ...

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 18, 2013 07:08 PM
Posted to Indiana Courts