Special Efforts Being Made in Indiana to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

July 03, 2018- New legislation allows fire stations that are staffed 24 hours a day to install Safe Haven Baby Boxes. While most fire departments have been deemed a "safe place" for years, it's different when it concerns infants. [ Recommendation 5.3e]

As of July 1, 2017, Indiana Code (31-33-5-2) now requires the school employee to immediately report suspected child abuse or neglect to the Department of Child Services or to a local law enforcement agency, and then notify the principal or the principal's designee that a report has been made. The new law also states that a school, "may not establish any policy that restricts or delays the duty of an employee or individual to report under this chapter." [ Recommendation 7.2d]

January 31, 2018- Officials from the Allen County Building Department will investigate a complaint that a device at a Woodburn fire station where people can anonymously leave a newborn is illegal because the "baby box" was installed without proper permits. [ Recommendation 5.2b]

January 03, 2018
Wednesday, one senator is proposing legislation that would expand the use of baby boxes in which a mother can anonymously give up her newborn. Republican state Sen. Travis Holdman of Markle says his bill would allow fire departments that are continually staffed to install the devices. [ Recommendation 5.2b]
Indiana’s Child Assessment Policy was changed by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) in July 2016. The new policy requires assessments for all children younger than 3 years old who have previously been the subject of a call to a CPS hotline, regardless of disposition. DCS also amended its Child Welfare Manual to require family case managers to complete a referral for a Pediatric Evaluation and Diagnostic Service for all children less than 3 years of age who are the subject of allegations of abuse or neglect resulting in fractures or burns or suspected fractures or burns, as well as for reports about all children less than 6 years of age with an allegation of abuse or neglect involving the head or neck (e.g., facial bruising, scratches and red marks on the face or neck, mouth injuries, eye injuries, head bleeds, skull fractures or a fracture or burn involving the head or neck). DCS is working in partnership with private agencies to provide home visiting programs to identify children at risk and provide the support families need to keep children safe. After 12 months of this practice, DCS asked its internal data analysis staff to determine how the change is impacting child well-being. Because DCS is currently absorbing the additional costs of these assessments, the analysis also will determine what additional costs have been incurred. The analysis is currently under way. [Recommendations 2.1, 7.3]

DCS is working with Eckerd Kids to implement Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback®, a real-time data analytics tool to flag high-risk child welfare cases for intensive monitoring and caseworker coaching.   [Recommendations 2.1, 7.3]

In 2016, the Legislature enacted HB 1271, which requires DCS to notify the U.S. Dept. of Defense Family Advocacy Program if a child of an active duty member of the military is the subject of an assessment regarding an allegation of abuse or neglect. It also requires DCS to make the assessment report available to the program upon request, and requires the state police department to establish an electronic child abuse registry containing information relating to persons convicted of a crime of child abuse.  [Recommendation 6.1e]

State Administration

February 12, 2018
- Melton's Senate Resolution 14 calls on legislative leaders to establish a two-year study committee tasked with examining any and all issues relating to DCS, and reporting back with proposed solutions for the House and Senate to act on.