IBJNews

State panel on improving child lives meets first time

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A panel directed by lawmakers to find ways to improve the lives of vulnerable Indiana children over the coming year met for the first time Wednesday with a challenging to-do list ahead of it.

The Commission on Improving the Status of Children established earlier this year by the General Assembly brings together agency chiefs, representatives of the judicial system and legislators to examine issues besetting vulnerable youths, recommending ways to improve their lives and opening channels of communication among the myriad state agencies responsible for children.

"There's plenty to do," said Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush, a former juvenile court judge who chairs the panel this year.

The commission grew out of a review last year of complaints about the Indiana Department of Child Services. Rush says one key recommendation from that study was to improve communication and coordination among state agencies that also include the Department of Education, the Division of Mental Health and Addiction and the prison system.

DCS Director Mary Beth Bonaventura, herself a former juvenile court judge, said her agency's priorities include identifying at-risk youth earlier than it does now.

Gov. Mike Pence sent a letter to commission members saying "nothing matters more to the future of our state than the well-being of children." He noted that one in five Indiana children live in poverty.

"Low-income children in Indiana fare worse on third grade reading tests than their peers, they struggle with obesity rates above the state average, they are more likely to be victims of crime, and they are more likely to be raised in single-parent families in which poverty rates are significantly higher than in families headed by two married parents," Pence wrote.

Several agency heads said they want to make services including health care and addiction counseling available statewide and not just in urban centers.

The commission's next meeting is scheduled for Oct. 16 in Indianapolis.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
thisissue1-092914.jpg 092914

Subscribe to IBJ
ADVERTISEMENT