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IN THE NEWS: DCS Ombudsman: ‘DCS failed to follow laws’

INDIANAPOLIS – According to a troubling report from the Indianapolis Star last week, Department of Child Services workers visited the home of a 2-month-old just hours before the child tragically died. The Department of Child Services Ombudsman, charged with providing oversight, concluded the state agency ‘failed to follow laws’ in connection with the case.

From Indianapolis Star 2-month-old dies of malnutrition hours after DCS, other welfare workers visited her home

“A 2-month-old girl died of malnutrition hours after four child welfare workers visited her Indianapolis home.

“At least one of those workers expressed concern about the baby’s well-being during the Aug. 21 visit, but did not report it to authorities. A stateombudsman has chastised the Department of Child Services for failing to properly handle the case.

“Alfreda Singleton-Smith, director of the DCS Ombudsman Bureau, concluded DCS “failed to follow laws, rules and written policies as they pertain to the completion of assessments involving the child in question,” according to a letter obtained by IndyStar. Singleton-Smith also determined the state agency failed to address certain factors before unsubstantiating and closing the DCS assessment before Ruth’s death.

“And she concluded that “DCS staff failed to report or follow up on other verbal concerns regarding the child through the appropriate available channels,” according to the letter.”

Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody expressed uncertainty over whether Governor Holcomb’s administration and Statehouse Republicans were acting quickly and transparently enough to reform the troubled state agency.

“This is a tragedy,” said Zody. “Alarm bells are ringing, are Governor Holcomb and Republican lawmakers doing everything they can to prevent even one more tragedy like this one? If so, how? Hoosiers want a transparent plan of action, not more vague promises. This isn’t going away, Hoosiers won’t accept the same tired political excuses. Leaders have a plan and they act. Governor Holcomb looks happy to hide.”