Special Efforts Being Made in Indiana to Eliminate Child Abuse and Neglect Fatalities

Indiana’s Child Assessment Policy was changed by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) in July 2016. The new policy requires assessments for all children younger than 3 years old who have previously been the subject of a call to a CPS hotline, regardless of disposition. DCS also amended its Child Welfare Manual to require family case managers to complete a referral for a Pediatric Evaluation and Diagnostic Service for all children less than 3 years of age who are the subject of allegations of abuse or neglect resulting in fractures or burns or suspected fractures or burns, as well as for reports about all children less than 6 years of age with an allegation of abuse or neglect involving the head or neck (e.g., facial bruising, scratches and red marks on the face or neck, mouth injuries, eye injuries, head bleeds, skull fractures or a fracture or burn involving the head or neck). DCS is working in partnership with private agencies to provide home visiting programs to identify children at risk and provide the support families need to keep children safe. After 12 months of this practice, DCS asked its internal data analysis staff to determine how the change is impacting child well-being. Because DCS is currently absorbing the additional costs of these assessments, the analysis also will determine what additional costs have been incurred. The analysis is currently under way. [Recommendations 2.1, 7.3]

DCS is working with Eckerd Kids to implement Eckerd Rapid Safety Feedback®, a real-time data analytics tool to flag high-risk child welfare cases for intensive monitoring and caseworker coaching.   [Recommendations 2.1, 7.3]

In 2016, the Legislature enacted HB 1271, which requires DCS to notify the U.S. Dept. of Defense Family Advocacy Program if a child of an active duty member of the military is the subject of an assessment regarding an allegation of abuse or neglect. It also requires DCS to make the assessment report available to the program upon request, and requires the state police department to establish an electronic child abuse registry containing information relating to persons convicted of a crime of child abuse.  [Recommendation 6.1e]