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Thursday, August 22, 2013

Ind. Gov't. - "Children's commission prioritizes top issues affecting youth"

Yesterday's first meeting of the State Commission on Improving the Status of Children is reported today by Marisa Kwiatkowski of the Indianapolis Star, who writes:

A commission charged with finding ways to improve the lives of Indiana children identified more than 50 issues during its first meeting Wednesday.

Hoosier children face an overwhelming number of challenges, members of the State Commission on Improving the Status of Children said, listing poverty, abuse, mental illness, suicide, health and juvenile justice reform among them.

“All of our children can be vulnerable children,” said Susan Lightfoot, chief probation officer for the Henry County Probation Department. “It doesn’t matter what door they come in. They should all be able to access services.”

The Indiana legislature created the commission to evaluate access to services, funding, cooperation among state agencies and the implementation of laws or programs. The group must submit a report of its work each July 1 to the governor, Supreme Court chief justice and legislature.

This commission is unique because the 18 members come from all three branches of government and the private sector. Members are not allowed to designate a representative to attend on their behalf, meaning power brokers are leading the effort. * * *

Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush, who is the commission chairperson, said creating the commission sends a clear message that children are important. “We see firsthand the disarray and the trauma children go through,” she said. “There’s plenty to do.”

The commission's next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 16 in Indianapolis.

No word on a webpage for the Commission or whether further meetings will be videocast AND archived. Although Kwiatkowski @IndyMarisaK tweeted during the meeting "It's kind of sad how excited I am about the amount of data in this commission packet," the absence of a website means there is no way for the public (including those who work with children at the state and local level) to access the data.

Another tweet, "Uh oh... Justice Loretta Rush just warned the commission members they will be leaving with homework assignments," but no word on what they were. She also tweeted that the Commision did not get through its agenda: "The meeting is over, with the rest of the agenda moved to the next meeting in October."

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 22, 2013 09:26 AM
Posted to Indiana Government