Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

July 3, 2013

Commission is formed to help Indiana's children

INDIANAPOLIS — The new Commission on Improving the Status of Children in Indiana hasn’t had its first official meeting, but its chair, Indiana Supreme Court Justice Loretta Rush, has already started prodding members to get to work.

In a recent informal meeting in her chambers, Rush urged other newly appointed commission members to embrace their ambitious challenge: Figuring out how to fix the state’s fractured system of services for vulnerable children.

“It’s rough out there for kids,” Rush said later, in talking about the commission’s charge. “Rougher than it’s ever been.”

The new law that created the commission, effective July 1, came in response to revelations last year of problems at the state’s Department of Child Services and the failings of its statewide child-abuse hotline. A summer study committee found, that among  other things, there were children in danger who were falling through bureaucratic cracks.

But the commission’s mission goes far beyond oversight of the DCS. It’s tasked with taking a deeper look at how well — or more accurately, how poorly — a myriad of agencies, organizations and entities are working together to help children in harm’s way.

Rush had been pushing for such a commission for several years, based on concerns of judges like her who’d seen the need for better coordination of services for children who ended up in the court system.

She’d spent 14 years as a juvenile court judge before she was tapped for the high court, and years before that as a court-appointed advocate for children who’d been abused, neglected, or abandoned.  

She’d seen how the tangle of services and programs aimed at helping children too often failed them, either from lack of coordination or by working at cross purposes.

Of the hundreds of memorable cases she’s dealt with, she talks about one that embodies the problems the commission must face: It involves a teenage girl who grew up in the chaos of mental illness and poverty, and been shuffled from foster home to foster home and in and out of different schools.

By the time the girl was in Rush’s court, she was a victim of repeated sexual abuse.

“I remember her describing the abuse and her asking me, ‘Is this too hard for you to hear?’ ” Rush recalls. “I remember thinking, ‘Too hard for me? This should be too hard for you.”

Last year, at the invitation of the Indiana Judicial Conference, the National Center for State Courts took a look at how Indiana was serving the needs of the state’s vulnerable children.

It found there are more than 30 Indiana-based entities, committees or groups that focus on various issues affecting children. It also found a lack of communication among key agencies that caused duplicated efforts and divisive turf battles and resulted in extra costs to taxpayers.

The commission that Rush will chair for the next year will take a closer look at that report, during what she hopes will be candid and productive conversations.

She points to similar work done on a smaller scale in her home county of Tippecanoe. While on the bench, she launched a series of annual summits on juvenile justice issues, bringing together police and prosecutors, with social service agencies, court officials, and community, school, and church leaders.

State Sen. Carlin Yoder, a Republican from Middlebury who supported the legislation that created the commission, said the law mandates that agency heads, not their representatives, sit on the commission.

“It’s important that the decision-makers sit at that table, and work together,” Yoder said. “Hopefully they’ll put aside everything but their concerns about how to best protect the children of Indiana.”

By law, the commission will continue its work until 2017; there’s a provision that allows the commission to be extended beyond that.

“This isn’t something that can get done in a year,” Yoder said. “This needs to be a long-term effort.”

1
Text Only
Local News
  • GN140719 fairfield transfer families 02 School transfer rules offers families flexibility When it came time to choose which local school district the Howell children would attend, their parents had a decision to make.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140802 first friday sandblast 06 FIRST FRIDAYS: Volleyball tourney, hoops events take center stage GOSHEN — Lori Shreiner and Kim Gallagher sat in lawn chairs, relaxing after winning their first round of competition in First Fridays SandBlast in downtown Goshen.

    August 1, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140730 city council summit 01 Proposed annexation vote set for Tuesday GOSHEN — It may seem like jumping the gun, but there’s a method to their madness.

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140801 Cellular Connection backpack giveaway 011.jpg For free school supplies, head to The Cellular Connection GOSHEN — Residents in Goshen are about to benefit from a national backpack giveaway campaign. The Cellular Connection, the largest Verizon Premium Wireless Retailer in the United States, in a joint effort with its customers, will be donating 100,000

    August 1, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140801 jeffery hunt Warsaw man gets 120 years for home invasion

    GOSHEN — An elderly New Paris couple who were victims of a violent home invasion last fall recounted that frightening night during one of their attackers’ sentencing hearing.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • BIZ GN140801 eby ford image 02 Eby Ford renovates showroom and more GOSHEN — The remodeled and expanded Eby Ford, Lincoln, Mercury dealership was celebrated Thursday night during an open house and ribbon cutting. “Without our awesome customers, we wouldn’t be here,” said owner Todd Eby as he addressed the crowd of fr

    July 31, 2014 2 Photos

  • GN140801 Mackowiak new Millersburg marshal.jpg Retired Goshen police officer sworn in as new Millersburg town marshal

    Retired Goshen police officer Al Mackowiak was sworn in as Millersburg's new town marshal Wednesday.

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • Wawasee Conservancy map Conservancy buys wetlands property at Syracuse Lake SYRACUSE — The Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation has purchased 44 1/2 acres of property along the southeast corner of Syracuse Lake. It is adjacent to the CSX railroad tracks, East Shore Drive and Cornelius Road and includes the Bonar Lake wetlands

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • GN140731 Habitat auction2.jpg Friday auction to benefit Habitat SHIPSHEWANA — On Friday, LaGrange County Habitat for Humanity will host its annual auction at Shipshewana Auction Barn.The auction begins at 3:30 p.m. and includes, among many other items, a five-piece bedroom suite, a white oak trestle table and a d

    July 31, 2014 1 Photo

  • City heads seek more employees GOSHEN — Like the 2014 budget, the city of Goshen’s proposed 2015 budget will include a number of requests for new personnel as department heads fight to maintain services amidst growing responsibilities and shrinking coffers.The Goshen City Council

    July 31, 2014

Parade
Magazine

Click HERE to read all your Parade favorites including Hollywood Wire, Celebrity interviews and photo galleries, Food recipes and cooking tips, Games and lots more.
Poll

Classes at Goshen Community Schools and St. John the Evangelist Catholic School will begin the 2014-15 school year on Thursday, Aug. 7. School corporations throughout the state have been trending toward earlier start dates the past few years. When do you think school should start?

I think early August is a good time to start
I think later in August would be a good time to start
I think school should start after Labor Day
     View Results
AP Video
Renewed Violence Taking Toll on Gaza Residents 2 Americans Detained in North Korea Seek Help US Employers Add 209K Jobs, Rate 6.2 Pct House GOP Optimistic About New Border Bill Gaza Truce Unravels; Israel, Hamas Trade Blame Raw: Tunisia Closes Borders With Libya Four Rescued From Crashed Plane Couple Channel Grief Into Soldiers' Retreat WWI Aviation Still Alive at Aerodrome in NY Raw: Rescuers at Taiwan Explosion Scene Raw: Woman Who Faced Death Over Faith in N.H. Clinton Before 9-11: Could Have Killed Bin Laden Netanyahu Vows to Destroy Hamas Tunnels Obama Slams Republicans Over Lawsuit House Leaders Trade Blame for Inaction