INDIANAPOLIS – Leaders at the Department of Child Services are testifying before the Senate Committee on Appropriations and the smart bet is an ask for nearly $300 million in additional funding. That’s pushing nearly $1 billion in total annual funding. It’s a bill Hoosier taxpayers will bear and a cost, in part, exacerbated by Indiana Republicans’ unwillingness to intervene earlier.
In 2013, just three of the Department’s 16 regions complied with state caseload mandates. The writing was on the wall: the agency needed resources to hire caseworkers, raise wages and make other smart investments. In 2015, Republicans led by former Governor Mike Pence stepped up and added…just $7.5 million in new funding or about 2.6 percent of what DCS will ask appropriators for today.
For years, Statehouse Republicans deferred, choosing to delay needed investment and compounding the future need. Today, we’re paying for that negligence. Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody criticized Statehouse Republicans for driving up the eventual cost of intervention by refusing to invest in abused children earlier.
“What was a small crack in the foundation, left unaddressed, mushroomed into a partial collapse and required a much costlier intervention,” said Zody. “By spending less, Republicans cost taxpayers much more. It’s not fiscally responsible. It’s not conservative. It’s cruel.”