September 5, 2018

Lawmakers Push Back Against Proposed DCS Changes

Original story from   IPBS-RJC

Article origination IPBS-RJC
DCS Associate Director Todd Meyer, left, and Director Terry Stigdon, right, testify before a legislative study committee.  - Brandon Smith/IPB News

DCS Associate Director Todd Meyer, left, and Director Terry Stigdon, right, testify before a legislative study committee.

Brandon Smith/IPB News

Indiana lawmakers aren’t happy with some of the recommendations from an independent evaluation of the Department of Child Services.

Current Indiana law says if DCS believes a child is in immediate danger, there must be an onsite assessment within one hour.

A proposed change – based on an independent evaluator’s report – would increase that to 24 hours. DCS Director Terry Stigdon appeared before a legislative study committee Wednesday. She says the change would provide case managers with needed flexibility.

“Right now, we have no room to move, to grant them that reasonable amount of time to respond,” Stigdon says.

But Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) – a former case manager – says the one-hour requirement is crucial.

“To not have that set time frame to point to, to check on that child within an hour gives way too much room for error,” Houchin says.

Houchin suggests some DCS workers should be dedicated solely as investigators for the onsite assessments.

The study committee will meet again later this month.

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