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State commission studying services for children sets first meeting

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A commission created last year by the Legislature to better coordinate services for children will hold its first meeting Aug. 21.

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children chaired by Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush will meet from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Conference Room C, Indiana Government Center South, 402 W. Washington St., Indianapolis.

Rush, formerly a juvenile court judge in Tippecanoe County, has been a longtime advocate for improving service for children.

Senate Enrolled Act 125 created the commission charged with studying issues concerning vulnerable youth, reviewing and making  recommendations concerning pending legislation, and promoting information-sharing and best practices among entities that provide services for children.

“We are committed to improving the health, safety and well-being of Hoosier children, especially the most vulnerable,” Gov. Mike Pence said in a statement. “The Commission will promote greater coordination among agencies to ensure that effective services are available and accessible when the child needs them. I am confident in Justice Rush’s leadership on behalf of Hoosier children, and I look forward to working with her further on these important issues.”

Other commission members are: Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura; Rep. Rebecca Kubacki, R-Syracuse; Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Indianapolis; Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Fort Wayne; Sen. Tim Lanane, D-Anderson; Superintendent of Public Instruction Glenda Ritz; Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council Director David Powell; Indiana Public Defender Council Director Larry Landis; Family and Social Services Administration Secretary Debra Minott; State Health Commission Dr. William VanNess II; Department of Correction Division of Youth Services Director Mike Dempsey; Division of State Court Administration Director Lilia Judson; Division of Mental Health and Addiction Director Kevin Moore; Henry County Chief Probation Officer Susan Lightfoot; Indiana State Budget Agency Director Brian Bailey; Office of the Governor Policy Director Ryan Streeter; and Attorney General Gregory Zoeller.

Meetings are also tentatively scheduled for Oct. 16 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. in Conference Rooms 1 & 2, and Dec. 11 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the same location. The meetings are open to the public.
 

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