Letter to the Editor/ Opinion-Editorial
By Indiana State Senator Karen Tallian (D-Portage)
Word Count: 308
The Indiana Department of Child Services recently announced plans to "re-allocate" more than $37.8 million over three years to enhanced services for Children and Families. This is, apparently, in response to the increased attention on DCS after a number of serious child abuse cases and deaths were reported earlier this year.
The public should be aware of some additional facts. Over the last three years, DCS reverted more than $216 million of its operating budget back to the state general fund. What does that mean? It means that in the last three years, DCS has cut its budget by $68 million in 2009, $45 million in 2010, and by a whopping $103 million in 2011. Those were funds appropriated to DCS by the Indiana General Assembly, composed of 150 elected representatives of the people because of the great responsibilities that agency holds. Governor Daniels and the non-elected DCS administrators decided that was too much money to spend on protecting children. To say that they are now going to put back approximately $12 million per year for the next three years is hardly the dramatic turnaround that they are portraying it to be.
DCS is now the subject of enhanced scrutiny by a special legislative study committee that has been appointed and will convene this summer. The two Senate Democrats appointed to this committee will be asking why child abuse tragedies continue in families known to DCS and how these budget cuts are keeping the agency from being as effective as it could be.
The cuts to DCS, along with the centralization of reporting services to a non-functional "hotline" located in Indianapolis, were wrong. As Democrats, we believe that the safety and protection of our children should be a high priority for the State of Indiana and I hope that the next governor and his administration reflect those values.
State Senator Karen Tallian represents Senate District 4 which encompasses portions of northern Porter County and portions of Ross and St. John townships in Lake County. For more information on Sen. Tallian or other State Senate business visit www.in.gov/s4.
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