In the wake of Department of Child Services director James Payne’s resignation Monday, Indiana’s gubernatorial candidates are offering their ideas for reforms in the state agency.
Governor Mitch Daniels accepted Payne’s resignation after allegations of impropriety surfaced regarding Payne’s handling of a DCS child neglect investigation involving his own grandchildren. GOP gubernatorial candidate Mike Pence says he defers entirely to Daniels’ decision to accept Payne’s resignation.
“But I also wish to acknowledge the fact that, in the last eight years, Indiana has been recognized nationally as a state that has made appreciable and significant improvements in the health and safety of our children,” Pence says.
Pence says, as governor, he would continue in the general direction the agency is already headed, while acknowledging the need for improvement. Democratic candidate John Gregg says the Daniels administration has not handled the agency’s budget well: the department has reverted more than $100 million to the state’s general fund in the last couple of years.
“We will not be bragging about reverting money back to the state general fund from an agency that’s been broken for well over year. That’s why a bipartisan legislature is investigating it,” Gregg says.
Libertarian Rupert Boneham expressed sympathy for Payne but says the DCS wastes too much time before responding to child abuse claims and vowed to put more of the agency’s people on the ground throughout the state.