More concerns raised about Indiana’s child welfare agency

A state consultant says Indiana's child welfare agency is facing a shortage of mental health and substance abuse treatment services, as well as attorneys.

The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group on Thursday released an interim report about the Department of Child Services, which has been under additional scrutiny since former director Mary Beth Bonaventura resigned in December and accused Gov. Eric Holcomb's administration of spending cuts that "all but ensure children will die."

The consultants say the problems found are also typical in other states, although they found the number of Indiana children placed in out-of-home care is double the national average rate.

The consultants hired by Holcomb say they'll seek an interview with Bonaventura, who was hired by Attorney General Curtis Hill shortly after her departure from DCS.

The consultants' final report is expected to be released in June. While that study has been undertaken, lawmakers introduced more than a dozen DCS-related bills this session.

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