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Legislators Looking Into Child Welfare Concerns

Democratic legislators want a number of public hearings to be held both in and out of the statehouse.

After months of complaints and concerns regarding child safety and welfare within the Department of Child Services, the General Assembly began reviewing the agency Tuesday.

Both Republicans and Democrats have expressed concerns about DCS, ranging from high caseworker turnover to the centralization of the agency’s hotline.

Markle Republican Senator Travis Holdman is the co-chair of the study committee and a former child welfare department caseworker. He says entire meetings will be devoted to hearing public testimony.

“We want to give an opportunity for those folks to vent, tell us what they think is wrong, but at the same time we want people to tell us what they think needs to be done to fix it and to bring solutions to the table for us.”

Anderson Democratic Senator Tim Lanane says the legislature can’t bury its head in the sand on these issues.

“We need answers to these most important questions about, ‘is the system currently working’,” he says? Is there a better way to approach this? We think one of the best ways to do that is hear from the people themselves, that are working in the system; get out into the state, go to the areas of the state where we need to hear to the people who are right on the front lines.”

The Democrats on the committee are asking for at least two of the five scheduled meetings to take place outside the Statehouse in locations around Indiana. Holdman says he’s open to discussing the idea.

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