For immediate release:
July 15, 2015
INDIANAPOLIS - The letter below was sent to Gov. Mike Pence by State Rep. David Niezgodski (D-South Bend) today in response to recent reports that document the renewed concerns about progress in reforms in the Indiana Dept. of Child Services (DCS):
Dear Governor Pence:
At the close of the 2015 session of the Indiana General Assembly, many of us who advocated for strengthening efforts by our state’s Department of Child Services (DCS) to combat abuse and neglect were hopeful that our cause was gaining traction.
Rather than refusing to fill vacancies among case managers, you told us that 100 new managers would be hired. The verbiage from your office was strong: Indiana’s most vulnerable citizens would be protected.
Yet here we are, just a few months later, and our state is being sued for its inability to live up to its mandate. Rather than seeing us meet statutory requirements that family case managers handle no more than 17 ongoing cases or 12 initial assessments, we are finding out that a number of managers are routinely handling more than twice as many cases as they should.
This should not be astonishing news. As far back as last November, DCS officials were telling lawmakers that virtually no DCS regional office was in compliance with state caseload requirements. A meeting of the DCS Oversight Committee in early June reiterated that the problems remained.
And now our state finds itself dragged into court once again because your administration has failed to live up to its promises.
To be blunt, this is not a new phenomenon. It has become common practice for you to offer grandiose pronouncements about a commitment to protect the interests of Hoosiers, only to be followed up with little to back up those words. It is as if you hope your lofty rhetoric is sufficient to keep the public from paying attention to the fact that the work isn’t getting done.
It isn’t getting done, Governor. Your administration is not doing its job. Reports to the child abuse and neglect hotline are rising, and there still aren’t enough managers to take care of them.
This cannot stand. You need to tell us what you intend to do to protect abused and neglected children in our state, and how we can shore up the support system that is supposed to help them.
Governor, actions speak louder than words. These employees are taking Action because your administration has not kept its Word.
Indiana House District 7