January 17, 2019

House GOP Blocks Dem Effort To Strengthen DCS Bill

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
The Indiana House Chamber.  - Lauren Chapman/IPB News

The Indiana House Chamber.

Lauren Chapman/IPB News

Indiana House Republicans denied an effort Thursday to compel the Department of Child Services to meet legally-defined caseload standards.

The rebuffed attempt from Democrats came out of a recent state Supreme Court decision.

State law establishes how many cases, on average, DCS workers should have at one time. And a new bill alters those numbers a bit to help the embattled agency better comply. But a Supreme Court decision says the standards are unenforceable.

Rep. Ryan Hatfield’s (D-Evansville) proposed amendment takes guidance from that court decision. Hatfield’s proposal would compel DCS to hire more caseworkers if caseload limits aren’t met.

“We need to ensure that our caseworkers are not overburdened,” Hatfield says.

Rep. Dave Frizzell (R-Indianapolis) says state oversight commissions are already keeping a close eye on the caseload standards.

“And I can make a promise that we’ll continue to do so,” Frizzell says.

Republicans defeated Hatfield’s amendment along party lines.

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