A study committee tasked with exploring issues at the Department of Child Services pulled back from recommendations that would have guaranteed foster parents a voice in court.
That decision came at the study committee’s final meeting this year.
Foster parents have told lawmakers for months about what one legislator described as a “culture of intimidation” by DCS.
The study committee considered a recommendation to require judges to give foster parents a hearing if they request a role in a child welfare case. Tippecanoe County Judge Faith Graham is hesitant.
“Requiring us to hold a hearing on those motions burdens the court, which is already overwhelmed with tons of hearings on all sorts of matters,” Graham says.
DCS stresses it’s working with the courts and foster parents to improve. Rep. Ed DeLaney (D-Indianapolis) says that’s fine, for now.
“And if part of that result is that DCS and the courts decide to try to get this understood, this right of foster parents, then that’d be great," DeLaney says. "But I’m not going to forget about it and I hope to hear about it in January.”
January marks the start of the legislative session.