The Fight to Save Hoosier Children

Last November, the Department of Children's Services, or DCS, responded to over 20,000 complaints statewide. In Allen County, over 1,000 complaints, and officials say the cases just keep piling on at the expense of child safety.

Posted: Feb 2, 2018 9:26 AM
Updated: Feb 2, 2018 9:28 AM

The State of the Department of Children's Services has been a cause of major concern.
Last November, the Department of Children's Services, or DCS, responded to over 20,000 complaints statewide.  In Allen County, over 1,000 complaints, and officials say the cases just keep piling on at the expense of child safety.

"I'll start right now, there is noone who cares more about children than I do.  And I will do whatever is ncessary to ensure the success of our agency and it's mission." Governor Holcomb addressing the issues with DCS during his recent State of the State address.  And people are hopeful, that with a renewed focus, the state's plan will help save children in danger.

"Underprivileged kids.  I don't think at the current time the state is doing enough," Hoosier David Shuler said."
"That incident over ther at the fire department where that kid got abused.  And then they took that kid up to the fire department and dropped him off.  I mean, everyone heard about that, it was terrible," Hoosier Chris Cloward said.

That incident involved two year old Malakai Garrett.  Back in November, Malakai died of severe injuries to his internal organs, and multiple blows consistent with being punched.  Malakai's cousins take part in family marches to raise awareness.  "So we can get justice for Malakai, and know what happened," Adalyn Adams Malakai's cousin said.

27 year old Mitch Vanryn has been charged with murder.  And 26 year old Amber Garrett, Malakai's mother, faces feloney charges of child neglect.  There were multiple DCS cases filed before Malakai's death.

"We have kids that are dying, or in harms way, and we need to do something about it.  State Representative Phil GiaQuinta says legislators are pressing the Governor for answers.  "We as legislators would like to see answers, sooner, rather than later.  But we will take the Governor at his word that they are really going to dive into the issue and see what is going on." 

But State Senate Minority Leader Tim Lanane says there are countless problems facing the department.  "Staffing levels were inadequate, that the budget funding was inadequate.  That there are issues in regards to technology that's used by the department." 

Mary Beth Bonaventura resigned from leading the DCS at the end of December and in her resignation letter said that a continuation of the state's policies would "All but ensure children will die." 

Governor Holcomb has ordered a review of DCS and the report was just completed today.  Holcomb will share the results with legislators in March.  "This report will got a long way in not just assessing, in addressing some of those concerns, so we're spending our precious resources in the absolute right way." 

Holcomb says he feels confident about Bonaventura's replacement and that they are ready to tackle the challenges facing Indiana's children. "Terry Stignon has not just the committment and the head and the heart for this service.  But she has got the respect of folks all across the state of Indiana." 

When it comes to children like two year old Malakai, everyone agrees the one thing the department doesn't have is time.
"We need to come up with solutions, and we need to do it quickly." 

Not a lot of information has been released from today's report.  What we do know, is that Indiana removes children from their homes and puts them in state's care at a rate that is double the national average.  I repeatedly tried to contact our local DCS department, and my calls and messages were left unreturned.  

Indiana Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 110759

Reported Deaths: 3503
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Marion20645758
Lake10172317
Elkhart6321108
St. Joseph600797
Allen5921200
Hamilton4646109
Vanderburgh327129
Hendricks2638121
Monroe236836
Johnson2250122
Tippecanoe218413
Clark210156
Porter203344
Cass19279
Delaware184261
Vigo175722
Madison156575
LaPorte135637
Floyd130061
Howard127063
Kosciusko118717
Bartholomew114557
Warrick111935
Marshall98024
Boone94446
Dubois94018
Hancock90042
Noble87632
Grant86733
Henry75424
Wayne73714
Jackson7319
Morgan69438
Shelby66329
Daviess63927
LaGrange62911
Dearborn62128
Clinton59112
Harrison55624
Putnam5209
Montgomery50221
Lawrence50028
White47814
Knox4769
Gibson4644
Decatur45339
DeKalb44211
Miami4223
Fayette41713
Greene41535
Jasper3802
Steuben3647
Scott35310
Sullivan32812
Jennings30812
Posey2940
Franklin29325
Clay2925
Orange28224
Ripley2788
Carroll26913
Wabash2608
Washington2571
Starke2487
Wells2472
Whitley2476
Adams2403
Jefferson2403
Fulton2302
Huntington2173
Spencer2154
Tipton21522
Randolph2067
Perry20213
Newton17011
Jay1680
Owen1641
Martin1590
Rush1494
Pike1361
Vermillion1250
Fountain1152
Blackford1142
Pulaski1131
Crawford1020
Brown1013
Parke932
Benton880
Union770
Ohio767
Switzerland680
Warren401
Unassigned0225

Ohio Coronavirus Cases

Data is updated nightly.

Confirmed Cases: 143547

Reported Deaths: 4612
CountyConfirmedDeaths
Franklin25846603
Cuyahoga17041642
Hamilton12698307
Montgomery7443152
Lucas7091357
Butler558699
Summit5073248
Marion305747
Mahoning2988279
Warren289348
Stark2723168
Pickaway262844
Lorain225386
Delaware211620
Fairfield199950
Columbiana191880
Licking185362
Trumbull1847131
Clark170738
Wood167971
Clermont161120
Lake157249
Medina142038
Allen136567
Miami134149
Greene133827
Portage106466
Mercer104417
Tuscarawas91020
Wayne89866
Erie89644
Ross84922
Richland78119
Madison77612
Darke75939
Belmont70527
Geauga70147
Hancock6559
Ashtabula64148
Athens5882
Lawrence58818
Auglaize5629
Shelby5619
Sandusky55420
Putnam53723
Huron5217
Union4832
Ottawa46430
Scioto4596
Seneca43514
Preble41813
Holmes3707
Muskingum3672
Jefferson3184
Henry29412
Logan2913
Champaign2873
Perry2849
Defiance27910
Clinton27813
Knox27815
Brown2732
Hardin24913
Morrow2472
Washington24623
Fulton2321
Coshocton23011
Jackson2284
Fayette2256
Ashland2224
Highland2203
Crawford2176
Wyandot20112
Williams1973
Gallia17912
Meigs1709
Hocking1599
Guernsey1557
Pike1530
Carroll1497
Adams1204
Van Wert1103
Monroe10618
Paulding1010
Harrison601
Morgan460
Vinton453
Noble260
Unassigned00
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