Republican legislative leaders indicated Wednesday they likely won’t take any significant action in the 2018 session to address issues at the Department of Child Services.
Democrats want the General Assembly to exert its oversight authority on the embattled child welfare agency.
In her resignation letter last month, former DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura warned current funding and policies would lead to child deaths. Gov. Eric Holcomb directed an independent consultant to examine the agency.
GOP legislative leaders – including Senate President Pro Tem David Long (R-Fort Wayne) – say that’s the proper course.
“I don’t think the legislature should be out there with major hearings going on until the end of session,” Long says. “I don’t think we’re equipped to do it; I don’t think we’re effective in doing that.”
But Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane (D-Anderson) says that’s not good enough.
“We have a duty to know before we leave this session – are the children of this state being adequately protected or not?” Lanane says.
Republicans say legislative leadership will conduct a formal review of the independent consultant’s report when it’s finished.