Ghost of Director Past haunts DCS

Outgoing director rebukes previous administration for “manipulated” numbers

INDIANAPOLIS – Just like the similarly-named character in Dickens’ A Christmas Carol, the Ghost of DCS Director Past reveals a time no one recalls with pride. In outgoing Director Mary Beth Bonaventura’s resignation letter, the lauded director all but accuses prior administrations of cooking the books and manipulating staffing numbers to the point they became “pure fantasy”.

From DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura’s resignation letter [via The Times of Northwest Indiana]

“Under my leadership, the agency has taken concrete steps to reduce child fatalities, despite the need to repair the defective and misleading methodology used before my appointment that kept the reported numbers of substantiated fatalities due to child abuse or neglect artificially low.

“Prior to March, 2013, the officially reported staffing numbers were manipulated to the point that they were nothing more than pure fantasy.

“DCS’s [newly-implemented] training program is designed to prevent catastrophes, like the one that resulted in the $31 million civil rights judgement against the State for events that occurred before my tenure, in the recent case of Finnegan v. Payne et. al..

“For example, in 2012, the Indiana Child Abuse Hotline was the center of a legislative study and constant constituent complaints related to long wait times and ineffective administration. Many of these problems were the result of poor implementation and oversight.”

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody believes Bonaventura’s letter demands further scrutiny of a troubled agency.

“Governor Holcomb believes he’s taken the appropriate steps, but in the past, it’s clear others would rather turn a blind eye than do what’s best for the most vulnerable among us,” said Zody. “Bonaventura’s account demands we take a closer look at DCS and I stand with Democrats in the Legislature who have made that call. If integrity matters to the governor, a report of an agency manipulating child fatalities numbers should be grounds for an immediate investigation. Governor, it’s time to put the political calculations aside and do the right thing.”

###