Statehouse GOP ceding DCS oversight?

No action from Legislature all but ensures any reforms deferred until 2019

INDIANAPOLIS – According to Statehouse lore, legislative sessions in even years, “short sessions”, are reserved for lawmakers to tackle emergencies that arise between budget years. There’s no doubt the Indiana Department of Child Services is facing an emergency, with outgoing Director Mary Beth Bonaventura warning decisions made by Governor Eric Holcomb’s administration will “all but ensure children will die.” But Statehouse Republican leaders have yet to publicly commit to a legislative review of the Department during the ten-week session beginning on Wednesday.

There’s little downside to executing a parallel legislative review of the beleaguered agency, and if reform is needed, it seems needlessly risky to delay action until 2019. Lawmakers could examine the issues raised by the Director during session and recommend corrective action with seemingly no additional cost to taxpayers.

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody questioned Statehouse Republicans’ apparent cold feet.

“If this crisis at DCS isn’t an emergency, what is?” said Zody. “Republican leaders seem content to ignore the alarm bells and relinquish their responsibility to protect the most vulnerable among us. Without a legislative review, it looks like Statehouse Republicans would rather protect Governor Holcomb than keep children safe. Are Republicans really willing to wait to put this fire out until 2019?”

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