Goodin on first DCS progress report: We have a long, long way to go…
INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Terry Goodin from Austin issued the following statement today in the wake of the first progress report evaluating the state Department of Child Services (DCS) issued by The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group:
“It is good to see that the actual work has begun on trying to figure out what we can do to help at-risk children across Indiana. House Democratic leadership had a chance to meet with an official with the private contractor hired to do this work, and we had a candid conversation where we were able to talk about some of the concerns expressed to us by local officials, caseworkers and the families who are affected by the current system.
“The problems facing DCS are so extreme that I would not be surprised if we end up with a complete overhaul of the agency itself. As I have said before, what concerns me is whether the solutions will require legislative remedies. It appears that this work will take much longer than the March 15 deadline for this year’s Legislature. It remains to be seen whether our leaders decide whether this problem is so dire that solutions must come sooner rather than later. If acting sooner helps save the life of one child, then I am ready to go into special session to make the changes that are needed.
“That is a debate for down the road. Right now, I would encourage this group to spend as much time as possible talking to the people who face these problems on the front lines of DCS. It is good to talk to administrators and middle management, but it’s the folks like the case managers who have to implement this agency’s mission statement on a daily basis, and it is absolutely imperative that they talk to the families whose lives are most affected. It is their input and experience that will be valuable in improving this system.
“We have a long, long way to go here, but we stand ready to do what’s right to protect at-risk children.”