New State Commission Begns Review On Kids’ Issues
August 22, 2013 — A new state commission on helping Hoosier children has kicked off its discussions with a long laundry list of topics to address. Network Indiana’s Eric Berman reports:
Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush, a former juvenile judge, is chairing the panel, which grew out of a review last year of complaints about the Department of Child Services.
Rush says one key recommendation from that study was to improve communication and coordination among the multiple agencies which touch children‘s lives, from D-C-S and the Department of Education to the prison system and Division of Mental Health and Addiction. Those agencies are represented on the 18-member commission, and came with their own priority list — with little overlap between them.
Family and Social Services Secretary Debra Minott says her agency‘s goals include school readiness and increased use of preventive health care among low-income families, while D-C-S director Mary Beth Bonaventura emphasizes early identification of at-risk youth.
One recurring theme from several agencies is to make sure children‘s services, from health care to addiction counseling, are available statewide, not just near big cities.