Indiana’s Department of Child Services has come under fire in recent months. Legislators, prosecutors and judges are among those who have accused DCS of failing to identify and protect at-risk children. Democratic gubernatorial candidate John Gregg says he has a plan to improve the agency.
Gregg has three initiatives he says will help fix a system that has allowed Hoosier children to fall through the cracks. If elected governor, the former House Speaker says he would launch a statewide adoption promotion program that includes financial incentives to adoptive parents.
He would put in place preventive mental health services that do not require an abuse claim to access. And he would create a new role in the department: the Office of Child Advocate.
“It doesn’t matter how good a job we do and how many changes we make, there’s always going to be problems,” Gregg says. “But we’re going to have this office created where we can constantly be looking at it.”
The new post would be responsible for an on-going review of the entire child welfare system and make recommendations designed to improve it.
In a statement, GOP candidate Mike Pence said protecting children is a top priority. Pence’s communications director says the congressman plans to announce specific policy initiatives later in the campaign.