Legislature Working To Improve Oversight of Child Services

The Department of Child Services Oversight Committee will meet for the first time Wednesday.

Carlin Yoder

Photo: Brandon Smith/IPBS

Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, will chair the DCS Oversight Committee.

Lawmakers say a new Department of Child Services oversight committee will help increase the agency’s transparency by developing a greater sense of collaboration between the legislature and DCS.

The DCS Oversight Committee was created last legislative session as part of a larger Commission on Improving the Status of Children. Sen. Carlin Yoder, R-Middlebury, who chairs the committee, says it was created because of struggles DCS went through the last several years.

“And I would say there was a lack of transparency there,” says Yoder. “I think it got overloaded at the top with too much power placed at the director position back in the Judge Payne days.”

While legislative committees typically produce legislation for the following sessions, Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville, says that won’t necessarily be the case with the DCS committee.

“But I think every intention is that we’d like to work through those problems around the table instead of in the state legislature,” Riecken says.

The committee meets for the first time Wednesday. Yoder and Riecken say the meeting will give lawmakers an opportunity to get to know new DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura and receive an update on how new DCS funds allocated by the legislature are being used.

Brandon Smith, IPBS

Brandon Smith, IPBS has previously worked as a reporter and anchor for KBIA Radio in Columbia, MO, and at WSPY Radio in Plano, IL as a show host, reporter, producer and anchor. Brandon graduated from the University of Missouri-Columbia with a Bachelor of Journalism in 2010, with minors in political science and history. He was born and raised in Chicago.

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