Linda Hartley, a social worker who works with abused children and their families, stood before a room of legislators judges and law enforcement officials Wednesday, giving reason for why she thinks the Department of Child Services has failed children across Indiana.
“I think that there is a lack of professionalism,” she says. “But first and foremost, I don’t get of sense of passion for protecting kids.”
Hartley was one of more than a dozen social workers, child advocates, former DCS employees, and family relatives of abused and neglected children who came to the statehouse to give testimony to a state study committee regarding the way she thinks the DCS operates.
The DCS has recently been under scrutiny for the way it operates its hotline. Some legislators have accused the department of failing to adequately respond to incidents of child abuse and neglect reported through the hotline.
Representative Cindy Noe, who co-chairs the group, says meetings like this were set up so lawmakers can enact legislation that creates a positive change within the department.
“I think we’re at a really unique point in time where we have an ability to intersect with DCS, and other agencies that really touch these children, and make some differences,” Noe says.
A representative from DCS declined to comment, saying that the hearings are for the public, and for families to be heard. The next hearing for the interim study committee will be September 24, where DCS officials will make a presentation to the group.