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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. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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