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Governor appoints Bonaventura as DCS head

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Gov. Mike Pence named Lake Superior Juvenile Senior Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura as director of the Department of Child Services Wednesday.

Bonaventura has been involved with juvenile courts since 1982, when she began working in the court as a magistrate. She established and served as executive advisor for the Court Appointed Special Advocate Program in 1986. She was appointed judge in Lake Superior Court in 1993 after having served more than a decade as a magistrate in juvenile court.

She currently serves on the Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee and is a member of the board of managers for the Indiana Judges Association. She served as chair of various juvenile-relate groups, including the Child Welfare Improvement Committee.

She may be familiar to some for her role in several documentaries about juvenile court filmed by Karen Grau, which aired on MTV and MSNBC. The Indiana Supreme Court granted Grau access to Bonaventura’s court.

"Judge Bonaventura is uniquely qualified to lead the state's Department of Child Services and help to protect Hoosier children from abuse and neglect," Pence said in a statement. "She is a strong leader who has an impeccable reputation of integrity and compassion for children."

The lifelong Lake County resident takes over as head of DCS following the resignation of director James Payne, a former Marion County juvenile judge, in September 2012 after news reports raised questions about his involvement in DCS actions pertaining to his grandchildren. The DCS has been the focus of news outlets and legislators recently after claims that several children died despite being reported to the agency as abused or neglected, for its decision to use a centralized reporting hotline, and how it has handled children with mental health issues.

Senate President Pro Tem David Long, R- Fort Wayne, said in a statement “no one in this state understands the intricacies of child welfare better than Judge Bonaventura, making her the perfect choice to lead DCS.”

House Speaker Brian Bosma, R- Indianapolis, said in a release that the judge will be leading the charge on one of the most crucial and sensitive issues in our state. “It is imperative for the Department of Child Services to have a fresh viewpoint overseeing the agency as we move forward with the many positive changes to best serve Hoosier children.”

There have been several bills introduced this session addressing DCS, including the creation of a committee on child services oversight and the ability for law enforcement and others to contact a local office of the DCS to report suspected abuse or neglect.


 

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  1. If real money was spent on this study, what a shame. And if some air-head professor tries to use this to advance a career, pity the poor student. I am approaching a time that i (and others around me) should be vigilant. I don't think I'm anywhere near there yet, but seeing the subject I was looking forward to something I might use to look for some benchmarks. When finally finding my way to the hidden questionnaire all I could say to myself was...what a joke. Those are open and obvious signs of any impaired lawyer (or non-lawyer, for that matter), And if one needs a checklist to discern those tell-tale signs of impairment at any age, one shouldn't be practicing law. Another reason I don't regret dropping my ABA membership some number of years ago.

  2. The case should have been spiked. Give the kid a break. He can serve and maybe die for Uncle Sam and can't have a drink? Wow. And they won't even let him defend himself. What a gross lack of prosecutorial oversight and judgment. WOW

  3. I work with some older lawyers in the 70s, 80s, and they are sharp as tacks compared to the foggy minded, undisciplined, inexperienced, listless & aimless "youths" being churned out by the diploma mill law schools by the tens of thousands. A client is generally lucky to land a lawyer who has decided to stay in practice a long time. Young people shouldn't kid themselves. Experience is golden especially in something like law. When you start out as a new lawyer you are about as powerful as a babe in the cradle. Whereas the silver halo of age usually crowns someone who can strike like thunder.

  4. YES I WENT THROUGH THIS BEFORE IN A DIFFERENT SITUATION WITH MY YOUNGEST SON PEOPLE NEED TO LEAVE US ALONE WITH DCS IF WE ARE NOT HURTING OR NEGLECT OUR CHILDREN WHY ARE THEY EVEN CALLED OUT AND THE PEOPLE MAKING FALSE REPORTS NEED TO GO TO JAIL AND HAVE A CLASS D FELONY ON THERE RECORD TO SEE HOW IT FEELS. I WENT THREW ALOT WHEN HE WAS TAKEN WHAT ELSE DOES THESE SCHOOL WANT ME TO SERVE 25 YEARS TO LIFE ON LIES THERE TELLING OR EVEN LE SAME THING LIED TO THE COUNTY PROSECUTOR JUST SO I WOULD GET ARRESTED AND GET TIME HE THOUGHT AND IT TURNED OUT I DID WHAT I HAD TO DO NOT PROUD OF WHAT HAPPEN AND SHOULD KNOW ABOUT SEEKING MEDICAL ATTENTION FOR MY CHILD I AM DISABLED AND SICK OF GETTING TREATED BADLY HOW WOULD THEY LIKE IT IF I CALLED APS ON THEM FOR A CHANGE THEN THEY CAN COME AND ARREST THEM RIGHT OUT OF THE SCHOOL. NOW WE ARE HOMELESS AND THE CHILDREN ARE STAYING WITH A RELATIVE AND GUARDIAN AND THE SCHOOL WON'T LET THEM GO TO SCHOOL THERE BUT WANT THEM TO GO TO SCHOOL WHERE BULLYING IS ALLOWED REAL SMART THINKING ON A SCHOOL STAFF.

  5. Family court judges never fail to surprise me with their irrational thinking. First of all any man who abuses his wife is not fit to be a parent. A man who can't control his anger should not be allowed around his child unsupervised period. Just because he's never been convicted of abusing his child doesn't mean he won't and maybe he hasn't but a man that has such poor judgement and control is not fit to parent without oversight - only a moron would think otherwise. Secondly, why should the mother have to pay? He's the one who made the poor decisions to abuse and he should be the one to pay the price - monetarily and otherwise. Yes it's sad that the little girl may be deprived of her father, but really what kind of father is he - the one that abuses her mother the one that can't even step up and do what's necessary on his own instead the abused mother is to pay for him???? What is this Judge thinking? Another example of how this world rewards bad behavior and punishes those who do right. Way to go Judge - NOT.

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