Former Indiana DCS director who criticized governor to take job with attorney general’s office

Mary Beth Bonaventura

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The former director of Indiana’s Department of Child Services will join the staff of Indiana Attorney General Curtis Hill as special counsel.

Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura spent more than 30 years in various judicial roles in Lake County. In 2013, then-Gov. Mike Pence appointed her to serve as the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services.

She served in that capacity until December 2017, when she resigned from the position and sent a scathing letter criticizing Gov. Eric Holcomb and his administration. Bonaventura said the administration has hindered her ability to protect children amid the ongoing opioid crisis.

Bonaventura took issue with funding cuts that have put the safety of children in jeopardy. She also claimed she’d been essentially stripped of the power to run DCS for nearly a year, with chief of staff Eric Miller taking over and creating a hostile work environment.

Bonaventura said Miller appeared to “bent on slashing our budget in ways that all but ensure children will die.”

She urged Holcomb to make some significant changes in how his administration approaches child welfare.

Holcomb contended that the state has mandated substantial increase in funding for the department.

Bonaventura will join the Attorney General’s Office on Monday, Jan. 22. She said she was “honored and excited” to take on the new role and continue “the fight against the opioid crisis and tackling the many challenges facing Hoosiers and their families.”