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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. What is this, the Ind Supreme Court thinking that there is a separation of powers and limited enumerated powers as delegated by a dusty old document? Such eighteen century thinking, so rare and unwanted by the elites in this modern age. Dictate to us, dictate over us, the massess are chanting! George Soros agrees. Time to change with times Ind Supreme Court, says all President Snows. Rule by executive decree is the new black.

  2. I made the same argument before a commission of the Indiana Supreme Court and then to the fedeal district and federal appellate courts. Fell flat. So very glad to read that some judges still beleive that evidentiary foundations matter.

  3. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  4. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  5. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

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