What’s Up With DCS?

In 2003, the Indiana Department of Child Services reported 51 deaths due to abuse in neglect, and while that number was cut in half by 2010, the agency still comes under fire for not doing enough to protect children.

According to the Indiana Department of Child Services latest annual report, in 2003, 51 children died of abuse and neglect.  In 2010 that number had dropped to 25, 19 were due to abuse and 6 were due to neglect, four children had previous experiences with DCS.  In 2003, out of the 51 child deaths, 34 were due to abuse, 17 were neglect and 11 had previous involvement with DCS.

Below is a breakdown from 2003 – 2010:

  • 2003 – 51 deaths, 34 – abuse, 17 neglect, 11 previous involvement
  • 2004 – 57 deaths, 22 – abuse, 35 neglect, 19 previous involvement
  • 2005 – 54 deaths, 24 – abuse, 30 neglect, 20 previous involvement
  • 2006 – 53 deaths, 30 – abuse, 23 neglect, 11 previous involvement
  • 2007 – 36 deaths, 17 – abuse, 19 neglect, 9 previous involvement
  • 2008 – 46 deaths, 24 – abuse, 22 neglect, 15 previous involvement
  • 2009 – 38 deaths, 24 – abuse, 14 neglect, 9 previous involvement
  • 2010 – 25 deaths, 19 – abuse, 6 neglect, 4 previous involvement

Lake County reported the most cases of child deaths due to abuse, seven.  While Marion County reported most deaths due to neglect, three.  60% of the reported child deaths were age five and under. And in 79% of cases, the mother’s boyfriend or man she was living with at the time was involved.

Despite this data, DCS has been under fire from some media and the Indiana Democrats.

Indy Politics spoke with Judge James Payne to get his assessment of the criticism against the agency to find out how he much thought was justified and how much was partisan politics.  His comments run 12 minutes.  He also discusses the latest agency efforts to further reduce child deaths in the state as well as the creation of local child fatality review teams across the state.

Leon-Tailored Interview: Judge James Payne, Department of Child Services.

A legislative study committee is expected to review the issue of child deaths this summer. 

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