Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services. Final Report. June 18, 2018.
Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group.
State Resource Technical Report
Published: June 2018
Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group
428 East Jefferson Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
This report presents the findings of an assessment of the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) that was undertaken by the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) to examine the current performance of the child welfare functions of the agency and compare it to generally accepted national practice standards and outcome measures, identify prominent strengths and challenges, and produce recommendations for changes in any areas needing improvement. CWG’s assessment activities focused on State level operations in Indianapolis and also on five regions of the State: Allen, Clark, Lake, Marion and Vanderburgh. The CWG team reviewed internal DCS documents and conducted 592 interviews with representatives of DCS staff, as well as with key individuals in State partner agencies, service provider organizations, the courts and legal system, service recipients, foster and adoptive parents and other external stakeholders such as representatives of advocacy organizations. Findings indicate: the State Budget Agency has assisted DCS financially in the past several years by substantially augmenting the DCS general fund appropriation; almost half of the children who are in out-of-home care in Indiana are placed with relatives; DCS has a defined practice model that aligns with prevailing standards of family-centered practice; DCS has strong relationships with partner agencies and service providers; DCS has an overall collaborative and cooperative relationship with the courts; DCS is in the process of hiring the 16 new attorney positions created this year to help address high workloads; permanency outcomes for children in out-of-home care in Indiana meet or approach national standards; and regular stakeholder meetings within each of the regions have been described as helpful in ensuring awareness of policies and external information, and promoting partnership. Challenges are then identified, and recommendations for improving services are made.
Indiana; child welfare services; child welfare reform; family centered services; data collection; out of home care; foster children; legal services; child welfare agencies; lawyers; supervisor training; mental health services; substance abuse treatment