INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. (June 16, 2015) - In the ten years, Marion County Juvenile Court Judge Marilyn Moores has served on the bench; she says this is the worst she has ever seen the child courts system.
“Overwhelmed is one word, bursting at the seams, straining at all joints; every piece of the system is completely overwhelmed,” she said.
Many DCS case workers are slammed with 30, 40, even 50 cases each. Moores says those overwhelming numbers are causing havoc in the court room.
“What it has caused, is judicial officers and court staff to be here till all hours because the cases are that important and it takes that much time to address them because the downside isn’t a criminal gets so many months in jail, it’s a kid might die,” she said.
Marion County, Moores says, is in the midst of a child abuse crisis. This time last year, there were just under 1,300 child abuse and neglect cases in Marion County. Today, there are just fewer than 2,000. That is a 50% increase. Moores predicts we’ll see 60% more cases by the end of the year.
“It has been a huge issue and we have been crying to the wind for over a year; the court system itself here has not received any additional resources,” she said.
Moores attributes the spike to an increase in heroin use, and domestic violence. But says the state isn’t pulling its weight in helping solve the surge in abuse.
“The system only moves as fast as its slowest moving part and state government is always the slowest moving part,” she said.
Moores says there are new cases added to the system every single day, with judges hearing upwards of 60 cases a day. The system as is she says is not sustainable. Moores says she’ll continue to push lawmakers for adequate funding to hire adequate staff.