GiaQuinta: DCS lawsuit proves need for constant vigilance, oversight

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INDIANAPOLIS – Indiana House Democratic Leader Phil GiaQuinta (D-Fort Wayne) today issued the following statement on the lawsuit filed in federal court alleging that the State’s Department of Child Services (DCS) is failing to protect the children under its care:

“What this lawsuit demonstrates is the need for lawmakers to have constant vigilance over the care of at-risk children. While the Holcomb Administration has seemed more committed than previous governors to correcting the errors that have plagued DCS for years, today’s announcement shows that we cannot afford to pay anything but the closest attention to what is going on at this agency.

“This is why Rep. Ryan Hatfield (D-Evansville) offered an amendment this past session compelling DCS to meet legally-defined caseload standards. House Republicans defeated that amendment, and promised vigilance in making sure that DCS would be held accountable. Today’s announcement shows that vigilance should be mandated, not just promised.

“There is a vehicle for holding DCS accountable. It is called the Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana, which has a Child Services Oversight Committee that reviews the work of DCS. It would appear that today’s announcement provides something for those groups to study in the months to come.

“Frankly, DCS hasn’t earned the right to be given a break in enacting the reforms it so desperately needs. When it comes to protecting the lives of children, we cannot afford to be lenient.”

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