The centralized hotline system is among the topics to be discussed when the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee meets Nov. 8.
Committee co-chairman Sen. Travis Holdman, R-Markle, said he and the committee’s other co-chair, Rep. Cindy Noe, R-Indianapolis, will offer a framework to transform the central call center into a hybrid system.
Under their proposal, school officials, law enforcement officers, medical professionals, judges and mental health workers would be given direct access to the local child agency office in their communities. Calls from anonymous individuals and others would be routed through the centralized call center.
Separating the calls would help ease the workload at the local level by sending the higher substantiated information straight to the community office while allowing the central office to skim off the lower substantiated tips, Holdman said.
The co-chairs will also recommend the addition of more than 100 new DCS workers spread between the local offices and the centralized call center. Along with eliminating the wait time, Holdman said they believe more workers will improve efficiency and reduce turnover.
The senator is expecting to meet some resistance from the Democrats on the committee who want to abandon the centralized hotline altogether. He does not want to scrap the hotline because of the amount of the investment made in it and, by separating out certain calls, he believes the centralized system can maximize the time of a worker in the field.
Since August, the DCS interim study committee has met four times and is scheduled to meet twice in November. A meeting on Oct. 25 was cancelled.
Thursday’s session will be held in the Indiana Government Center South, at the request of Holdman. He wanted all the committee members to be able to sit at one table and look at each other while they discuss the issues and suggestions related to DCS. No outside parties will give testimony during this meeting.
Holdman and Noe have met several times with DCS officials to examine about 70 issues related to the agency. They have developed potential solutions to some of the issues and will offer those during the meeting.