INDIANAPOLIS - The Alabama-based nonprofit tasked with evaluating the Indiana Department of Child Services has released its first progress report. The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group detailed a preliminary list of the department's strengths and challenges in the assessment, which was ordered by Governor Eric Holcomb following the resignation of former DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura.

The progress report was unveiled Thursday at a news conference, which included remarks from newly-appointed DCS Director Terry Stigdon and CWG representative Sue Steib. Among the challenges listed in the report, the nonprofit detailed the need for an automated data system capable of producing management reports more easily, allowing DCS staff to continuously monitor their performance.

The report also shows the DCS has a significant growth in the number of children in out-of-home care. That number went from 8,897 in December 2012 to 16,834 in December 2017, nearly twice the national average. 

You can view the progress report in the document below. The CWG will issue its next progress report on March 1 and expects to deliver its final report to Governor Holcomb in June. 

Bonaventura resigned as DCS director in December with a scathing letter criticizing the Holcomb administration for cutting funding to the agency and damaging relationships, reportedly saying the moves would "all but ensure children will die."