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Indiana’s foster care policy puts kids in danger



Indianapolis, Indiana – A federal complaint was filed this week detailing the mistreatment of nine children who were under the care of the Indiana Department of Child Services. The attorneys behind the complaint assert that Indiana’s foster care program is in a state of crisis, and the actions and lack of actions by Child Services are contributing to a dangerous environment for children.

The comprehensive 66-page federal lawsuit presents an extensive list of allegations highlighting the failures of the Indiana Department of Child Services. The legal team contends that Indiana is not fulfilling its core responsibility as a custodian, which is to ensure the safety and well-being of foster children.

Marcia Lowry, who serves as the executive director and lawyer for the advocacy group A Better Childhood, is leading the charge in filing this complaint. A Better Childhood utilizes legal means to drive reform in dysfunctional child welfare systems across the nation. Lowry emphasizes that the focus of their concern is Eric Miller, the director of Indiana’s Child Services. She points out that the outgoing commissioner had expressed concerns that children’s lives could be at risk due to Miller’s leadership.

However, Miller was appointed by Republican Governor Eric Holcomb to head Child Services just three months ago. Miller had previously served as the agency’s chief of staff under Mary Beth Bonaventura. In her resignation letter to Holcomb in 2017, Bonaventura had criticized Miller’s conduct, which is cited in the complaint.

The letter outlined Miller’s actions that had adverse effects, such as making decisions that could jeopardize children’s lives.

This week, Miller released a video on Child Services’ YouTube channel, announcing changes in the leadership team. However, he did not address the federal complaint. His office issued a statement to I-Team 8 declining to comment. The governor’s office also chose not to comment.

Lowry contends that the state’s child welfare system is in a state of crisis. She believes that the well-being of the children is not being prioritized, and they are being shuffled around without receiving necessary services. These are children under the custody of the state, and they are not receiving the support mandated by law and the Constitution.

Lowry seeks intervention from a federal judge to mandate significant changes in Indiana’s Child Services. These changes include ensuring timely and appropriate services and treatment for children, increasing the number of case workers, and improving the management of medical records for foster children.