Holdman introduces bills to help children, families

State Sens. Travis Holdman (R-Markle) and Carlin Yoder (R-Middlebury) have introduced several bills to protect children and families involved with the Indiana Department of Child Services.

The policies advocated in these bills follow recommendations made by the General Assembly's Interim Study Committee on the Department of Child Services. Both Holdman and Yoder served on this committee.

"This past summer, committee members reviewed evidence and testimony regarding concerns that DCS was mismanaged," Holdman said. "We took this into careful consideration before making our recommendations for improvement, and now we are prepared to introduce legislation to directly address these complaints."

Yoder and Holdman's bills would accomplish the following:

• Mandate national criminal background checks for child-care provider applicants, employees and volunteers (SB 114).

• Establish the Committee on Child Services Oversight to monitor child services in Indiana (SB 125).

• Allow a prosecuting attorney to request a juvenile court to authorize a petition that a child is in need of protective services (SB 164).

• Require DCS to employ additional staff and implement greater collaboration between Indiana's child-abuse reporting hotline and local DCS offices to better protect Hoosier children (SB 392).

All four bills have moved to the Committee on the Judiciary for further review.