Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children

16 October 2013

The Indiana Commission on Improving the Status of Children met for its second session today. The Commission is unique in its composition as it brings together leaders from all three branches of state government in areas that relate to childhood well-being. Most similar commissions throughout the country or Indiana in the past have been primarily a judicial or legislative unit.

The purpose statement of the Committee reads: “The multi-branch statewide Commission is aimed at improving the status of children in Indiana.  In cooperation with other entities, members of the State Commission on Improving the Status of Children will study issues concerning vulnerable youth, review and make recommendations concerning pending legislation, and promote information sharing and best practices.”

The Commission has identified its Mission as: To improve the status of children in Indiana. The Vision is: Every child in Indiana will have a safe and nurturing environment and be afforded opportunities to grow into a healthy and productive adult.

In its first session the Commission determined six Program Priority Objectives;
1] Increase availability of and access to quality mental health services,
2] Reforms of child placement services,
3] Improve healthcare access,
4] Improve educational outcomes,
5] Expand juvenile justice reforms, and
6] Increase substance abuse treatment and prevention services.

The Commission determined four Cross System Priority Issues;
1] Improve data sharing/communication across agencies,
2] Public education/awareness,
3] Address service array gaps, particularly in rural areas, and
4] Child fatalities

IC 2-5-36-9
Duties of the commission
Sec. 9. The commission shall do the following:
(1) Study and evaluate the following:
(A) Access to services for vulnerable youth.
(B) Availability of services for vulnerable youth.
(C) Duplication of services for vulnerable youth.
(D) Funding of services available for vulnerable youth.
(E) Barriers to service for vulnerable youth.
(F) Communication and cooperation by agencies concerning vulnerable youth.
(G) Implementation of programs or laws concerning vulnerable youth.
(H) The consolidation of existing entities that serve vulnerable youth.
(I) Data from state agencies relevant to evaluating progress, targeting efforts, and demonstrating outcomes.
(2) Review and make recommendations concerning pending legislation.
(3) Promote information sharing concerning vulnerable youth across the state.
(4) Promote best practices, policies, and programs.
(5) Cooperate with:
(A) other child focused commissions;
(B) the judicial branch of government;
(C) the executive branch of government;
(D) stakeholders; and
(E) members of the community.
(6) Submit a report not later than July 1 of each year regarding the commission's work during the previous year. The report shall be submitted to the legislative council, the governor, and the chief justice of Indiana. The report to the legislative council must be in an electronic format under IC 5-14-6.

The members of the Commission are;
Debra Minott, Secretary, FSSA
Mary Beth Bonaventura, Director, DCS
Rep Gail Rieken
Kevin Moore, Director, FSSA Division of Mental Health and Addiction
Ryan Streeter, Senior Policy Director for Governor Mike Pence
Lilia Judson, Ex Dir, Division of State Court Administration
Justice Loretta Rush, Indiana Supreme Court
Susan Lightfoot, Chief Probation Officer, Henry County Probation Department
Mike Dempsey, Director, Indiana DOC, Division of Youth Services
Greg Zoeller, Indiana Attorney General
Dr William VanNess, State Health Commissioner, Indiana State Department of Health
Glenda Ritz, Superintendent of Public Instruction, Indiana DOE
Senator Tim Lanane
Larry Landis, Director, Public Defender Council
David Powell, Director, Prosecuting Attorney's Council
Rep Rebecca Kubacki
Senator Travis Holdman
Brian Bailey, Director, Indiana State Budget Agency

The next meeting of the Commission is scheduled for 11 December 2013 from 10:00 – 2:00 at the Indiana Government Center South.

If you would like assistance ensuring that your children have the best outcomes then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me. There is no charge for initial attorney consultations.

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More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2008, 2013 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

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