Legislation to increase data about the death of children focuses on foster care history.
In 2016, Indiana recorded 59 child fatalities due to abuse or neglect. The Indiana Department of Child Services, DCS, details the deaths in an annual report. New legislation would require the department to include the child’s foster care status.
Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) authored the bill that would require DCS to note whether the child was in foster care at the time of death, or had been returned to their family.
"I just want to make sure we are doing everything we can to protect kids that live in vulnerable situations," says Leising.
Leisings says children in the report were often in the care of people who reported significant stresses. That led to death due to abuse or neglect.
"Insufficient income and substance abuse were the two primary reasons," says Leising.
Gov. Eric Holcomb has made DCS reform a priority. A committee unanimously passed the bill to the full Senate.