DCS Caseloads Being Scrutinized After Recent Tragedies

As Virginia Black reported in In Wake of Recent Deaths, DCS Still Trying to Hire More Workers, this summer, there have been a number of children around the state who were seriously harmed at the hands of adults.  This, unfortunately, drew attention once again to the Indiana Department of Child Services caseworkers and their caseloads.  As noted in the article, there are questions about how caseload numbers are tracked and whether the agency is getting any closer to achieving it staffing goals and the staffing ratio caseload goals.  During the September 2014 DCS Oversight Committee, DCS provided staff turnover statistics that reflect a continuing trend of 15-17%.

The DCS Oversight Committee has heard reports on caseloads and staff turnover through out the existence of the committee, which is chaired by Senator Carlin Yoder and staffed by Senator John Broden and Representative Gail Riecken, as well as representatives from a variety of agencies and groups. Links to the minutes since the committee came within the umbrella of the Commission on Improving the Status of Children are available here.  Older minutes and reports from the 2013 Child Services Oversight Committee are available here.  The minutes and reports from the 2012 Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee, referenced in the article, are available here.

Here are links to reports that are referenced in the article:

 

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Resources for LGBT Youth and Schools

The American Civil Liberties Union has gathered together many web resources and publications for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LBGT) youth and school systems to aid in ensuring that school is “a safer, more welcoming place.”  There are a variety of topics, including, in part, harassment, free speech, private, and equal protection.

Additional resources are available from:

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Handgun Licenses and Juvenile Adjudications

If a child is adjudicated a delinquent child for an act that would be a felony if committed by an adult, that child is prohibited from receiving a license to carry a handgun until he or she reaches twenty-three years of age.  I.C. 35-47-2-3(g)(4).  Most other children would become eligible to get a license to carry a handgun when they reach eighteen years of age.  I.C. 35-47-2-3(g)(3).

This is yet another collateral consequence of juvenile adjudications that is likely not part of the discussion during the juvenile delinquency case.  For a broad overview of collateral consequences, go to the American Bar Association’s website, beforeyouplea.com.

Shoutout to defense attorney Kirk Freeman from Tippecanoe County for an excellent continuing legal education seminar on firearms that included this information.

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National Gang Center

The National Gang Center is a federal project sponsored by the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Juvenile Justice (OJJDP) and Delinquency Prevention and the Bureau of Justice Assistance.  One way to keep up-to-date on the latest happenings is the National Gang Center Newsletter.  The Spring/Summer 2014 edition is available here, and includes research from the University of Washington, Long Term Consequences of Adolescent Gang Membership for Adult Functioning that was originally published in the American Journal of Public Health.

There is also a wealth of resources, including:

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Where are the Minutes?

Indiana’s Commission on Improving the Status of YouthInfant Mortality and Child Health Task Force has no minutes posted for the five meetings held.  There are four agendas posted, but no agenda posted for the July 14, 2014 meeting.

It would be helpful to have the meeting minutes for public review following approval, and even the materials distributed at the meeting, to aid those who wish to stay up-to-date on developments, but could not attend the meetings.

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Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings

The Center for Educational Excellence in Alternative Settings (CEEAS) is focused on helping alternative schools, both in the community and in locked facilities, “implement transformational, student-focused practices designed to significantly improve the life chances of the students they serve.”  In July, there was a four-day Tech Camp for teachers and administrators to learn about technology tools that could increase student engagement and achievement.  CEEAS also offers an annual poetry competition, Words Unlocked, for children in secure facilities.  The program is supported in part by the InsideOUT Writers Program.  For more information about that initiative and access to an online anthology of poems, go here.

As more and more of our juvenile delinquency and CHINS students are being moved to alternative schools due to a variety of issues, we need to focus more attention on how these schools are operating and whether our children have any hope of successfully achieving a high school diploma or alternative high school equivalency test. The Commission on Improving the Status of Children’s Educational Outcomes Task Force will hopefully do just that by utilizing groups, such as CEEAS.

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OJJDP Releases Literature Reviews

The U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Juvenile Justice and Delinquency Prevention, Model Programs Guide has issued three new literature reviews:

The Model Programs Guide is a resource about evidence-based juvenile justice and youth prevention, intervention, and reentry programs.  “Related Links” includes an extensive list of national organizations that have additional information about juveniles and evidence-based practices.

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