INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — A legislative panel studying Indiana’s Department of
Child Services is hearing from residents who believe the agency puts keeping
families together ahead of children’s best interests.
Wednesday’s testimony focused on the state’s centralized child abuse
Donna Baxter of Schererville testified that she used the hotline to try to
regain custody of her granddaughter after DCS returned the child to her
drug-addicted mother and her abusive boyfriend. Baxter says the girl was
malnourished and tested positive for drugs as a newborn.
Democratic Rep. Gail Riecken of Evansville says DCS should prioritize
children’s well-being over family unification.
DCS officials have said the agency is required by law to make all reasonable
efforts to reunify families and evaluates what can be done to safely keep a
child in his or her home.