Letter: Leaders should get invested in youth, make real change in DCS

<p><strong>To the editor:</strong></p><p>The Department of Child Services has quite a negative connotation anywhere you go. For years the complaint has been that the “system” is slow and ineffective. This is due to cuts in funding from our GOP-run legislature. In December 2017, Department of Child Services director Mary Beth Bonaventura resigned, stating decisions by the governor will “all but ensure children will die.”</p><p>Bonaventura also said that cuts to their funding and services are systematically putting children at risk. Saving the state money is great, but is putting the lives of abused children really the place to be saving a buck? The current system is obviously not working.</p><p>In 2013 both the Child Services Oversight Committee and the Commission for Improving the Status of Children in Indiana have been in place, watching over the Department of Child Services. Neither noticed any of the problems Bonaventura described. In five years, outside evaluators have put together five reports about DCS, along with recommended changes. However, in the most recent “progress” report posted to the department’s website, DCS admits that over a quarter of the child welfare group’s recommendations haven’t been implemented.</p><p>House Speaker Brian Bosma said in an interview with the South Bend Tribune that he was “disturbed” that DCS had failed to take action on these reports. If the Indiana GOP is truly disturbed by this, it’s time for people like Gov. Holcomb, Bosma and our representatives Woody Burton and John Young to step up to the plate and make these changes. Instead of boasting about the state’s business climate, how about giving more funding and discussing this very real issue with any level of sincerity, and take active steps in cultivating the much-needed change in our DCS system.</p><p>Visit DCS offices, get to know the staff, and learn the very real challenges they face, and see firsthand how lack of funding is impacting a growing number of cases. In short, Woody and John, I want you invested in this state’s youth, not just what lines your pockets. Imbuing capital and time into our state’s DCS will be well worth it. To quote Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, “Real change, enduring change, happens one step at a time.”</p><p><p><strong>James E. Reid</strong></p><p><p><strong>Franklin</strong></p>