Sen. Eddie Melton (D-Merrillville) wants to create a special legislative commission to investigate the Department of Child Services.
Melton says his proposal is meant to work in conjunction with ongoing independent efforts to explore issues at the embattled state agency.
An independent consultant’s review of DCS is underway and expected to conclude in June. Melton says his proposed two-year legislative committee wouldn’t interfere with that. Rather, he says, the committee would study the consultant’s report and help implement necessary legislative action.
There’s also a preexisting state panel – the Commission on Improving the Status of Children – that looks at DCS. It involves all three branches of government as well as outside stakeholders. Melton says he doesn’t want his proposed committee to duplicate those efforts, but still thinks it’s necessary.
“This committee that we’re talking about is going to be solely focused on DCS. I think the commission, from how I understand, focuses more broadly,” Melton says.
Commission executive director Julie Whitman says she’s happy to work with Melton’s proposed group.
A Senate panel will vote later this month on Melton’s recommendation to create the special committee.