Indiana Department of Child Services

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Independent consultants investigating the Department of Child Services have identified significant potential shortages in the agency.

The consultants’ second public update shows possible challenges in legal representation, worker qualifications, and services.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

A Senate committee unanimously recommended creation of a special legislative study commission to investigate the Department of Child Services Monday.

Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Merrillville) authored the resolution. He says his proposed two-year commission is not meant to interfere with an ongoing, independent review of the embattled state agency.

“I think this is a great opportunity for legislators to remain engaged in this process,” Melton says.

Bill Aims To Improve DCS Communication With Schools

Feb 22, 2018
Lauren Chapman / IPB News

A bill passed through committee this week that aims to improve communications between schools, courts and the Department of Child Services.

The first part of the bill would require DCS to outline efforts to coordinate with a foster child’s school system. Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington) authored the bill and says a case from his county highlights the problem.

"This child was 7-years-old and weighed 20 pounds and the only communication they had with the school was, here is the child," says Zay.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

Legislation unanimously approved in a Senate committee Tuesday aims to strengthen Indiana’s human trafficking laws.

The bill makes several changes to current statute. It separates out labor trafficking and sex trafficking and better defines them both.

It also takes out the requirement in law that force must be involved in trafficking, because Rep. Sally Siegrist (R-West Lafayette) says that can be difficult to prove.

Brandon Smith / IPB News

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana met Wednesday in Indianapolis. The group received a brief update of what was happening with the state’s independent assessment of the Department of Child Services.

Newly appointed DCS Director Terry Stigdon says members of the review team have conducted many interviews.

"Providers that partners with DCS to provide care that’s needed to children," says Stigdon. "They have met with legislators as well."

Gov. Eric Holcomb sought in his State of the State to reassure Hoosiers his administration will do “whatever it takes” to fix problems at the Department of Child Services.

But Democratic legislative leaders say Holcomb’s address lacked boldness and leadership, particularly when it comes to the ongoing DCS crisis.

Lawmakers Announce Push To Expand Baby Box Locations

Jan 3, 2018

Lawmakers in the 2018 session want to spread the use of so-called “baby boxes” in Indiana. New legislation would expand last year’s law that legalized the devices meant to serve as a more anonymous way for someone to leave an unwanted newborn.

DCS Chief, Holcomb Disagree On Agency Funding Levels

Dec 18, 2017


Indiana Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura says the well-being of Hoosier children has been put at risk because of steps taken by Governor Eric Holcomb’s administration.

Bonaventura’s sharp criticisms came in her resignation letter, delivered to Holcomb last week.

Foster Families Needed For Children In Indiana

Nov 1, 2017

The need for adoptive parents is growing in Indiana. The link between cases coming through the Department of Child Services and substance abuse disorders is direct.

So far this year DCS has completed more than 1,800 adoptions, up from a little more than 1,000 three years ago. This follows a sharp increase in the number of Hoosier children entering the foster system because parents are unable to care for them, often because of opioids.

Indiana DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura says awareness of the need for foster to adopt families is imperative.


The Indiana Supreme Court unanimously ruled Monday it can’t force the Department of Child Services to comply with caseload requirements in state law.