Holcomb: State Will Dip Into Surplus For DCS Fixes

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Paul Vincent is director of the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group. Paul Vincent is director of the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group.

An outside organization brought in by the state to review and offer potential fixes for the state's Department of Child Services has detailed its findings. The Alabama-based Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group has created 20 recommendations based on a six-month assessment requested by Governor Eric Holcomb. During a presentation Monday in Indianapolis, Holcomb announced plans to direct $25 million from the state's surplus funds toward priorities that could include raising salaries and increasing training for "on-the-ground" workers for the department.

DCS Director Terry Stigdon has been tasked with developing priorities for the funding and Todd Meyer, a former Boone County prosecutor, has been named executive director of DCS in charge of implementing recommendations from the report.

Needs identified in the findings include:

  • Treat and support families struggling with substance use disorders
  • Re-launch the family-centered practice model of care
  • Improve coordination among state agencies that support Indiana families and children
  • Refine state statute and regulations to serve Indiana families and children better and more efficiently
  • Revise internal DCS policies to serve families and children better and more efficiently
  • Engage stakeholders from all government branches as well as the provider community to gain important insights and guidance for improved DCS service to families and children
  • Improve use of data and technology to more effectively support DCS’ mission to serve Hoosier families and ensure child safety
  • Transform the culture at DCS to encourage better decision making, training, professional development and advancement—particularly for those employees working directly with vulnerable children and families

Stigdon says "there are thousands of people in this state working tirelessly to make a real difference in the lives of those who need it most. It is our job to make sure they have everything they need to help families and communities. We have to shift the agency's culture to provide our staff the resources they need to succeed."

You can connect to the full report by clicking here.

Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group Director Paul Vincent

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