Indiana DCS Director resigns

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(Indiana Statehouse Newsroom) – The Director of Indiana’s Department of Child Services abruptly resigned last week. She issued a four-page resignation letter that talked about what she achieved and the reason behind her decision to quit.

Department of Child Services Director Mary Beth Bonaventura took aim at the governor’s office on pages 2 and 3 of her letter, citing Gov. Holcomb’s staff cutting funding and services to children in the midst of the opioid crisis.

Bonaventura said she would rather resign than be involved in “decreasing the safety, permanency, and well-being of children who have nowhere else to turn.”

In the letter, Bonaventura detailed four reasons why she’s resigning.

First, Bonaventura said, “I have effectively been stripped of power to run DCS for the past 11 months.” 

She went on to say she felt the DCS Chief of Staff, appointed by the governor’s office, “created a hostile work environment.”

Second, she felt the work with foster parents and child-placing agencies was being undermined.

Third, she talked about the DCS Child Support Bureau being on the verge of collapse because of “antiquated technology.”

Lastly, Bonaventura claimed there are “efforts to reduce or cap staffing of Family Case Managers and Child Welfare attorneys.”

Democratic State Senator Karen Tallian said of the resignation, “She made a recommendation that they probably should hire close to 200 more. Yet, what the governor’s office is calling for, as far as I understand, is either cuts or a hiring moratorium.”

State Senator Tallian sits on the State Budget Committee. She’s calling for a full investigation of DCS funding to “find out exactly what’s going on over there, find out exactly what the Governor is proposing, and see why he’s asking for cuts when the Legislature has been adding money for them to add staff?”

Gov. Holcomb’s office released a statement Monday reading in part, “I’m grateful for Director Bonaventura’s years of service and her commitment to keeping Hoosier kids safe. I share that commitment and that’s why the state continues to make investments in the agency. We are providing record funding to DCS with nearly half a billion dollars more in funding support over the next two years. We will continue to do all we can to protect children.”

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(This story was originally published on December 18, 2017)

      

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