Christless mess

Dateline: Wed 22 Aug 2012

The Indianapolis Star and reporters Alex Campbell, with an assist from Tim Evans, deserve applause and gratitude for exposing the inefficiencies in the "new" Department of Child Services -- especially its hotline operation and possible problems with the credibility of the woman who runs it, Andrea Hawkins.

This has been an ongoing story, but today's coverage blows the roof off. When you've got judges, sheriffs, deputies and lawyers from rural counties complaining that THEY can't get through to the hotline for reporting child abuse, then you've got trouble.

The centralized operation that Gov. Mitch Daniels and DCS boss James Payne have created is clearly not working. Not when you have a cop finding a woman drunk in a car at 2:30 a.m. with a child in the back seat, and the hotline's response is to send a caseworker to the incorrect location -- Clinton County vs. Clinton city. All this, when a local caseworker was a mile and a half away.


There are numerous other examples.

Almost as troubling is the accusation that Hawkins paid a former colleague -- whom she later fired -- to write a paper for her during the time she was getting her master's in social work from Indiana University.

Something is very clearly off.

The Star has balanced this investigation with occasional columns from freelance editorial writer Andrea Neal, who tells Payne's side of the story -- why a centralized operation was needed, praisefor the new system from the Annie Casey Foundation for the "reforms," all that.

Good reading, but highly distressing. 

Heads should roll. Good for the newspaper for keeping the pressure on.





Whitebeard [unverified] said:

Tim Evans does a good job on these kinds of projects.

2012-08-22 13:02:30

ruthholl [Member] said:

Yes, dude knows his way around those agencies for sure.

2012-08-22 13:04:52

hendy [Member] said:

Not surprising. Stories I could tell you of strangenesses with the FSSA must be listened to only after you're strapped down and have had your tranqs.

2012-08-22 14:18:04

groovygal [unverified] said:

Andrea's last name is Goodwin, not Hawkins

2012-08-26 13:01:29

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