Department of Child Services

Health leaders are raising awareness about a new initiative to tackle Indiana's high infant and maternal mortality rates. The state launched a public awareness campaign this week. 

A new report says the number of Indiana children who died because of abuse or neglect went up, year-over-year.

Maximilian Kwiatkowski / The Times

 On this edition of the podcast you'll hear the latest on the search for emergency housing for several residents of an apartment building in Valparaiso, the Hard Rock Casino is coming to Gary, Brandon Smith on Attorney General Curtis Hill's latest attempts to block a federal lawsuit against him, and Chris Nolte has a conversation with Donna Stuckert of the Porter County Recycling and Waste Reduction. All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”… 

It's been one year since an independent investigator unveiled a detailed report on the Indiana Department of Child Services. That came after a huge spike in children in the system, often linked with the opioid crisis.

Since then, the agency has made significant progress, but some say it’s not enough.

DCS Associate Director Todd Meyer Abruptly Resigns

Jul 19, 2019

A top Department of Child Services official brought in specifically to help shape up the embattled agency has resigned.

The Indiana Statehouse (Brandon Smith/IPB News)

On this edition of the podcast you'll hear the latest on the Indiana Court of Appeals ordering a new sentencing hearing for a Gary man serving 183 years in prison for two slaying when he was 16,  Brandon Smith reports on the some new laws that have yet to take effect in Indiana, a special prosecutor has been named in the police involved South Bend shooting and Chris Nolte has a conversation with Jim Weiser, chairman of the Lake County Democratic Party . All of that, and more, on this edition of “Lakeshore Update”…     

DCS Responds To Lawsuit, Calls It 'Inflammatory'

Jul 1, 2019

The Indiana Department of Child Services is responding to a class action lawsuit alleging the agency is failing the children in its care.

The lawsuit filed on behalf on nine children seeks policy changes at DCS. According to the complaint, some of those children have been shuffled between foster homes more than 15 times.

NUVO Magazine, Indianapolis

On this edition of Lakeshore Update we'll hear the latest on ArcelorMittal being fined after it was discovered an employee was exposed to hazardous substances, Brandon Smith reports on the the Supreme Court ruling on redistricting reform and how that might affect Indiana, and an Indianapolis lawyer is throwing his hat in the ring to become the next Attorney General for the Hoosier state. All of that, and more, on this edition of Lakeshore Update.

Most 2019 Legislation Takes Effect July 1

Jun 28, 2019

Most of the nearly 300 new laws crafted by the General Assembly this year take effect Monday.

DCS Target Of New Class Action Lawsuit

Jun 25, 2019

The Indiana agency that oversees the state’s foster system is the target of a class action lawsuit filed Tuesday morning in federal court in Evansville. The suit accuses the Department of Child Services of violating children’s constitutional rights.

Gov. Eric Holcomb defended how Republican budget writers prioritized the state’s dollars as he signed a new budget into law. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Gov. Eric Holcomb signed the state’s next two-year budget into law Monday as he defended how Republican budget writers prioritized the state’s dollars.

Senate Sends Foster Care Reform Bill To Governor

Apr 18, 2019
The Indiana Statehouse (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

The Senate sent a bill to the governor’s desk Thursday that aims to reform Indiana’s foster care system.

Public Gets Final Chance To Testify On State Budget

Apr 18, 2019
The Indiana Statehouse (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

The public got its last chance Thursday to weigh in on the budget bill as lawmakers finalize the state’s new two-year, $34 billion spending plan.

House Unanimously Passes Bill To Help Foster Parents

Apr 15, 2019

The House unanimously approved a bill that makes a number of changes to Indiana’s foster system – including giving foster parents more of a voice.

Department of Child Services Director Terry Stigdon. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

The Department of Child Services again asked state lawmakers Thursday to increase its funding by nearly $300 million per year.

House GOP Blocks Dem Effort To Strengthen DCS Bill

Jan 17, 2019
The Indiana House Chamber. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana House Republicans denied an effort Thursday to compel the Department of Child Services to meet legally-defined caseload standards.

The work of the 2019 legislative session began in earnest this week as the governor unveiled his budget, lawmakers debated a revenge porn bill, and hate crimes bill advocates launched a new coalition.

Foster Advocates Call For Per Diem Increase

Dec 21, 2018
Gov. Eric Holcomb acknowledges the state needs to help foster parents more. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana foster parent advocates say the state needs to increase its per diem – the amount parents get each day from the state to help care for the kids in their care.

Holcomb Talks DCS In 2018, Looks Ahead To 2019

Dec 19, 2018
Gov. Eric Holcomb discusses his work in 2018 and looks ahead to 2019. (WTIU)
Brandon Smith

Gov. Eric Holcomb spent a lot of 2018 focused on issues at the Department of Child Services. That includes the results of an independent investigation into the embattled agency. Indiana Public Broadcasting’s Brandon Smith talks with Holcomb about that work and what lies ahead in 2019.

Lawmakers Face Tight Budget After New Revenue Forecast

Dec 17, 2018
State fiscal analysts present the State Budget Committee with a new revenue forecast. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

A new state revenue forecast gave lawmakers good news and bad news Monday. The good news: Indiana will have more than $800 million in new money for the next state budget.

The 2019 legislative session gets underway January 3. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

The Department of Child Services delivered its funding request earlier this week – asking for $286 million more a year, for the next two years.

A study committee tasked with exploring issues at the Department of Child Services pulled back from recommendations that would have guaranteed foster parents a voice in court. (Peter Balonon-Rosen/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

A study committee tasked with exploring issues at the Department of Child Services pulled back from recommendations that would have guaranteed foster parents a voice in court.

Gov. Eric Holcomb says he and the Department of Child Services are "wide open" to input from everyone in the child welfare system. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

The Department of Child Services announced a campaign to encourage more Hoosiers to become foster and adoptive parents. But the new partnership with a national organization comes as many of the state’s foster parents say the system has significant problems.

Child Welfare Agency Proposes Changes To State Law

Sep 19, 2018
The Department of Child Services wants legislators to change some of the laws that govern the child welfare agency. (Lauren Chapman/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

The Department of Child Services wants legislators to change some of the laws that govern the child welfare agency.

Lawmakers debated those proposed changes in a study committee Wednesday.

Lawmakers Push Back Against Proposed DCS Changes

Sep 5, 2018
DCS Associate Director Todd Meyer, left, and Director Terry Stigdon, right, testify before a legislative study committee. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana lawmakers aren’t happy with some of the recommendations from an independent evaluation of the Department of Child Services.

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush says a recent independent report on the Department of Child Services underscores the need for a wholesale approach to improving child welfare. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush says a recent independent report on the Department of Child Services underscores the need for a wholesale approach to improving child welfare.

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children discussed the report at its meeting Wednesday.

DCS Director Terry Stigdon, at left, and Gov. Eric Holcomb, right, discuss an independent evaluation of the embattled state agency. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Gov. Eric Holcomb announced Monday he'll spend $25 million from the state's surplus to help implement an independent evaluator’s recommended changes for the Department of Child Services.

Action on those changes comes after years of the state ignoring previous recommendations for the embattled agency.

Controversial Issues Dominate 2018 Study Committees

May 15, 2018
House Speaker Brian Bosma (R-Indianapolis) says he's not sure hate crimes need to be studied further. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana lawmakers will consider a number of controversial issues in study committees this year – including hate crimes and the Department of Child Services.

DCS Director Terry Stigdon addresses a crowd of child advocates at the Statehouse celebration of National Child Abuse Prevention Month. (Brandon Smith/IPB News)
Brandon Smith

Indiana leaders celebrated National Child Abuse Prevention Month Thursday amid controversy at the state’s child welfare agency.

A Senate committee unanimously recommended creation of a special legislative study commission to investigate the Department of Child Services Monday.

Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Merrillville) authored the resolution. He says his proposed two-year commission is not meant to interfere with an ongoing, independent review of the embattled state agency.

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