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Protecting Hoosier children: focus group discusses DCS changes

A local foster mom says she is pleased Governor Eric Holcomb spoke about leadership changes within the Indiana Department of Child Services during his annual address. However, she thinks more should be done right now to protect Hoosier kids.

Posted: Jan. 12, 2018 8:37 PM
Updated: Jan. 12, 2018 10:39 PM

TERRE HAUTE, Ind. (WTHI) - A local foster mom says she is pleased Governor Eric Holcomb spoke about leadership changes within the Indiana Department of Child Services during his annual address. However, she thinks more should be done right now to protect Hoosier kids.

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News 10 told you about the State of the State Address earlier this week. Governor Holcomb said in his speech that an outside agency would assess DCS. Members of a special WTHI focus group wonder what happens until the results of that assessment are released.

Kristi Cundiff says, "I was glad to hear that, as governor of our state, that no one cares more about the safety of children than what he cares about, however, again, there's no plan. There's no breakdown."

Missy Burton says, "I think the assessment's a good step but how long is that going to take and how many children are going to be displaced or not placed properly while we're waiting for that particular assessment to take place?"

They also have concerns about transparency.

Dwayne Malone says, "Sometimes we just pick and choose what we want to do the assessment at and I think it has to be an overall assessment of every aspect within that."

Some say the governor should do more to recognize foster parents, not just case-workers.

Neil Ward says, "The whole thing falls apart if there is no place to place these children."

A foster mom herself, Cundiff says more has to be done to improve communications throughout DCS and with people like her on the front lines.

The focus group noted some topics missing from the governor's address.

Andi Taylor says she is disappointed, but not surprised, Holcomb failed to talk about CBD oil. Taylor's son uses CBD oil to manage his health conditions. She says he is a part of a study and the results have been life changing.

Burton says she thinks the governor should have also talked about mental health and suicide prevention.

The group agreed Holcomb's words about civility were welcomed but thought he could have started there and made it more of a major point in his speech.

For more about the group's discussion on opioids, click here.

For more about the group's discussion on jobs and the economy, click here.

For more on Governor Holcomb's address, click here.

To read the speech, click here.

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