Second Progress Report of the Evaluation of the Indiana Department of Child Services Child Welfare System. March 1, 2018
Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group.
State Resource Technical Report
Published: March 2018
Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group
428 East Jefferson Street
Montgomery, AL 36104
This second evaluation report describes activities undertaken in February 2018 by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS), issues brought to light by the assessment, and activities yet to be completed. It notes that since January 3, the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group (CWG) reviewers spoke with 141 people during the course of 99 interviews, collected quantitative data from the DCS’ information system, and reviewed data found in the 2016 federal report “Child Maltreatment” and the 2015 “Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect” report. Noted strengths and challenges for DCS are identified and include the following strengths: an atmosphere of hope and optimism about DCS’ new leadership and a renewed interest from State leaders; dedicated and hard-working caseworkers and supervisors; and collaborative relationships with State agencies. DCS notable challenges include: an insufficient number of experienced attorneys at DCS that leads to delays in filings and requests for delays of court hearings and negatively impacts a child’s movement toward permanency and resolution for families; qualifications and preparation of DCS case managers and supervisors; customer service from local DCS offices; a shortage of services overall and, particularly, of mental health and substance abuse treatment resources throughout Indiana; and centralization of decision-making authority in DCS. The report closes with an outline of next steps for CWG evaluators.
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