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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. Indiana's seatbelt law is not punishable as a crime. It is an infraction. Apparently some of our Circuit judges have deemed settled law inapplicable if it fails to fit their litmus test of political correctness. Extrapolating to redefine terms of behavior in a violation of immigration law to the entire body of criminal law leaves a smorgasbord of opportunity for judicial mischief.

  2. I wonder if $10 diversions for failure to wear seat belts are considered moral turpitude in federal immigration law like they are under Indiana law? Anyone know?

  3. What a fine article, thank you! I can testify firsthand and by detailed legal reports (at end of this note) as to the dire consequences of rejecting this truth from the fine article above: "The inclusion and expansion of this right [to jury] in Indiana’s Constitution is a clear reflection of our state’s intention to emphasize the importance of every Hoosier’s right to make their case in front of a jury of their peers." Over $20? Every Hoosier? Well then how about when your very vocation is on the line? How about instead of a jury of peers, one faces a bevy of political appointees, mini-czars, who care less about due process of the law than the real czars did? Instead of trial by jury, trial by ideological ordeal run by Orwellian agents? Well that is built into more than a few administrative law committees of the Ind S.Ct., and it is now being weaponized, as is revealed in articles posted at this ezine, to root out post moderns heresies like refusal to stand and pledge allegiance to all things politically correct. My career was burned at the stake for not so saluting, but I think I was just one of the early logs. Due, at least in part, to the removal of the jury from bar admission and bar discipline cases, many more fires will soon be lit. Perhaps one awaits you, dear heretic? Oh, at that Ind. article 12 plank about a remedy at law for every damage done ... ah, well, the founders evidently meant only for those damages done not by the government itself, rabid statists that they were. (Yes, that was sarcasm.) My written reports available here: Denied petition for cert (this time around): http://tinyurl.com/zdmawmw Denied petition for cert (from the 2009 denial and five year banishment): http://tinyurl.com/zcypybh Related, not written by me: Amicus brief: http://tinyurl.com/hvh7qgp

  4. Justice has finally been served. So glad that Dr. Ley can finally sleep peacefully at night knowing the truth has finally come to the surface.

  5. While this right is guaranteed by our Constitution, it has in recent years been hampered by insurance companies, i.e.; the practice of the plaintiff's own insurance company intervening in an action and filing a lien against any proceeds paid to their insured. In essence, causing an additional financial hurdle for a plaintiff to overcome at trial in terms of overall award. In a very real sense an injured party in exercise of their right to trial by jury may be the only party in a cause that would end up with zero compensation.

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