Goodin: Legislators need to have input on solutions to DCS problems

December 28, 2017 Terry Goodin

INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin from Austin today issued the following statement after Gov. Eric Holcomb announced that he has asked for a “complete assessment” of the troubled state Department of Child Services (DCS):

“It is good to see that the governor has realized that there is more that needs to be done at DCS than simply saying that the agency is getting more funding.

“There is a need for a study of the agency. I do not think that the answer is simply to have a private organization conduct a review of DCS, with the very great likelihood that answers will not come until the 2018 session is over and the Legislature loses the opportunity to weigh in on whatever is discovered. There is a sense here that we are being asked to let the foxes guard the henhouse, and trust them to do what’s right.

“Lawmakers need to be a part of this study. Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed their concerns about the crisis facing DCS, and we think that our participation in finding solutions is critical.

“If the governor doesn’t want us to take part in his review, then the Legislature must study the situation on its own. Committees in both chambers should conduct hearings on this matter, and figure out if there is a need for legislative remedies.

“We intend to ask for these hearings at every opportunity during the 2018 session, starting next week. If legislation is demanded to conduct this business, we will file it.

“In all cases, these studies should be done in full view of the public, with a complete airing of the problems that plague this agency. The public deserves a chance to have its say.

“One of the stated purposes behind a short session is to address emergency matters. What could be a greater emergency than to protect the lives of children at risk?

“So, we thank the governor for saying that something needs to be done. Pardon us if we take a look at what’s going on as well.”