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DCS centralized hotline undergoes changes in advance of legislation

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Prior to the Indiana General Assembly implementing recommendations from an interim study committee, the Indiana Department of Child Services is making changes.

Travis Holdman, R-Markle, co-chair of the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee, said the state agency has been altering some of its processes to mirror the committee’s proposals. Among those changes are adjustments to how the centralized hotline handles calls.   

Speaking March 13 after a hearing by the House Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs, the senator also praised DCS director John Ryan’s cooperation.  

“Many of the things we thought we were going to have to pass as original recommendations of the committee and do legislation, DCS has said, ‘Don’t mess with that. We’ll just fix it for you,’ and they have already proceeded to do that,” Holdman said.

The centralized hotline was implemented in January 2010 and since has raised concerns over how the intake specialists handle the calls. Some elected officials advocated that the central line be dismantled and the state revert to the local DCS offices handling the reports.

Holdman and former committee co-chair and state representative Cindy Noe proposed the hotline be altered to a hybrid model. They wanted to give community professionals like police officers, judges, physicians and school officials direct access to the local office.

Their recommendation became the basis for Senate Bill 105, authored by Sen. Brent Steele, R-Bedford. It passed through the Senate by a unanimous vote and has been referred to the House Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs.

According to DCS spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland, the department introduced new processes with the hotline on March 5 which gives all decision making to the local offices. Calls are still routed through the centralized hotline, but after the intake specialists gather as much information as possible, the report, with a recommendation, is turned over to the local authorities to determine how to handle the situation.

Previously, the intake specialists were determining whether the information met legal sufficiency for DCS to make an assessment. Reports for assessment as well as the reports for non-assessment were sent to the local offices. Family case managers in the community offices could decide to still follow up on the calls that were not recommended for assessment.

Along with the change to the central call center, Holdman said DCS followed a committee recommendation and gave pay raises to the hotline employees. The department is also adding more family case managers.     

The overall goal with the call center, he said, is to reduce the 50 percent turnover rate among employees and cut the hold time to zero.

 

 

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  1. From his recent appearance on WRTV to this story here, Frank is everywhere. Couldn't happen to a nicer guy, although he should stop using Eric Schnauffer for his 7th Circuit briefs. They're not THAT hard.

  2. They learn our language prior to coming here. My grandparents who came over on the boat, had to learn English and become familiarize with Americas customs and culture. They are in our land now, speak ENGLISH!!

  3. @ Rebecca D Fell, I am very sorry for your loss. I think it gives the family solace and a bit of closure to go to a road side memorial. Those that oppose them probably did not experience the loss of a child or a loved one.

  4. If it were your child that died maybe you'd be more understanding. Most of us don't have graves to visit. My son was killed on a state road and I will be putting up a memorial where he died. It gives us a sense of peace to be at the location he took his last breath. Some people should be more understanding of that.

  5. Can we please take notice of the connection between the declining state of families across the United States and the RISE OF CPS INVOLVEMENT??? They call themselves "advocates" for "children's rights", however, statistics show those children whom are taken from, even NEGLIGENT homes are LESS likely to become successful, independent adults!!! Not to mention the undeniable lack of respect and lack of responsibility of the children being raised today vs the way we were raised 20 years ago, when families still existed. I was born in 1981 and I didn't even ever hear the term "CPS", in fact, I didn't even know they existed until about ten years ago... Now our children have disagreements between friends and they actually THREATEN EACH OTHER WITH, "I'll call CPS" or "I'll have [my parent] (usually singular) call CPS"!!!! And the truth is, no parent is perfect and we all have flaws and make mistakes, but it is RIGHTFULLY OURS - BY THE CONSTITUTION OF THIS GREAT NATION - to be imperfect. Let's take a good look at what kind of parenting those that are stealing our children are doing, what kind of adults are they producing? WHAT ACTUALLY HAPPENS TO THE CHILDREN THAT HAVE BEEN RIPPED FROM THEIR FAMILY AND THAT CHILD'S SUCCESS - or otherwise - AS AN ADULT.....

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