Little public evidence DCS making progress on CWG recommendations
Ahead of Wednesday’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana meeting, it’s not clear what progress is being made to implement recommendations to right the embattled agency. Five previous reports examining the agency went largely ignored, a fact that “disturbed” Speaker Brian Bosma. Governor Eric Holcomb hasn’t said much publicly since the report’s release. It’s a look that doesn’t exactly jibe with Holcomb’s comments following the report’s release, when he described himself as ‘excited‘, felt a “sense of optimism” and “confidence” in the fact that “we have a game plan“.
From the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette Doubt in any real change to DCS
“Lawmakers on Monday reviewed the latest report on problems at the Indiana Department of Child Services, but some still aren’t sure anything will change.
“How is this different?” asked Rep. John Bartlett, D-Indianapolis.
“That’s because DCS has received numerous similar reviews – some with the exact same recommendations – under previous Republican administrations.
“One such analysis came under then-Gov. Mike Pence’s tenure about 18 months ago, and Republican House Speaker Brian Bosma said he didn’t learn about it until this year.
“I am disturbed by that,” Bosma said. “I can tell you this governor is laser focused on this issue and he has picked folks that he has confidence in to run the department and I know they aren’t going to drop the ball on this one.”
The need for reform at the agency remains. In July, an autopsy of an 18-month-old Anderson boy revealed 54 injuries and the county prosecutor, a Republican, said DCS failed to protect the child.
From the Anderson Herald Bulletin After autopsy results, prosecutor, attorney call for changes at DCS
“Madison County Prosecutor Rodney Cummings said that child services, which had been involved with the family in December, failed to protect Harlan Haines, the toddler who died Feb. 23.
“The autopsy released Tuesday documented multiple severe injuries among the 54 that were cataloged.
“It was what I expected,” Cummings said of the autopsy results. “It’s sickening what that child went through.”
“Local attorney Bob Summerfield, representing Harlan’s father, Jackie Haines III, and uncle, Michael McKnight, said the autopsy report is a personal invitation to Indiana Gov. Eric Holcomb to “open his eyes” and make real changes to DCS.”
For an agency desperately short on credibility, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody believed Statehouse Republicans need to prove to concerned Hoosiers they are taking action at DCS.
“Republicans lost the benefit of the doubt about the same time they were failing to implement five sets of reforms that would have saved lives,” said Zody. “Indiana Republicans from Governor Holcomb on down need to get serious and publicly disclose the steps they are taking to fix DCS. When you fail five times, it’s hard to believe the sixth time will be any different.”