Indiana DCS director faces sympathetic lawmakers

Indiana Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura.

INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Key state lawmakers Friday threw their support behind efforts to solve the understaffing problems in the Department of Child Services.

DCS caseworkers are handling workloads so big that the Pence Administration has been sued by the ACLU.

Only one of 19 regions in the state has adequate staffing, according to state guidelines.

But when DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura appeared before the State Budget Committee in West Lafayette she encountered sympathetic lawmakers.

The governor’s announcement Thursday to hire 113 new caseworkers will permit the state to come into compliance, Bonaventura said.

She cited a 26 percent increase in the number of abused and neglected children.

“The majority is because of drugs,” she said.

“As long as we understand what’s going on and we feel like the efforts are being made at the level they are,” said Sen. Luke Kenley (R-Noblesville), “we’re going to be supportive for you.”

Bonaventura told the committee that DSC would be in compliance if it changed the way it keeps records counting families as one case, instead of individual children.

She said that change, however, would guarantee that many caseworkers would be overloaded even if the state was in compliance.

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