INDIANAPOLIS – An outside consultant evaluating Indiana's child welfare system has identified two key challenges the state faces and has laid out a plan for the next several months.
The group's first update will be released today, but The Journal Gazette received a copy of the report early.
The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group was tapped by Gov. Eric Holcomb in December to conduct an assessment after the resignation of Mary Beth Bonaventura, director of the Indiana Department of Child Services. She blasted the governor for budget decisions and administrative policy that will “all but ensure children will die.”
She said Holcomb allowed her agency to request only a fraction of the funding and staffing needed to protect children. And Bonaventura said she was stripped of her authority to run her agency when Holcomb appointed a chief of staff.
The number of Indiana children in need of protection has risen in recent years to almost 30,000. Illinois has twice the population but half as many abused and neglected children in its system.