Photo: Jasont82 (Wikimedia)
Department of Child Services Director James Payne resigned from his post Monday in the wake of allegations of impropriety regarding the DCS and a case involving his own family. DCS Chief of Staff John Ryan is stepping in as director of the department effective immediately.
Payne’s resignation comes after allegations that he interfered with a child neglect investigation involving his grandchildren. Payne’s son was involved in a bitter divorce from his wife and Payne is alleged to have worked to discredit DCS caseworkers on behalf of his son.
Governor Daniels, who accepted Payne’s resignation, issued a statement praising Payne’s service as head of DCS, saying thousands of Hoosier children are better off because of Payne’s leadership. News of the resignation came just minutes before a legislative study committee meeting looking into DCS practices.
Democratic members of the committee had called for a state investigation into the allegations surrounding Payne, and Evansville Representative Gail Riecken says his resignation does not change that.
“We’re just now hearing about [the issues], and we don’t know how far down they go into the department and I think we need to know that,” she says.
Indianapolis Republican Representative Cindy Noe, the study committee’s co-chair, says those investigations are outside the legislature’s purview.
“You have the commission on ethics as well as the inspector general,” she says. “In this instance, those entities will not be used because this issue has been resolved within the executive branch of government.”
Noe says the allegations should not erase the good that Payne has done for the state.