Indiana child welfare agency seeks $286M more per year

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — The Indiana Department of Child Services is requesting an additional $286 million per year in funding to help the struggling agency keep up with its rising caseloads and address long festering problems.

The department’s budget request would designate roughly $965 million from the state’s general fund per year for the next two fiscal years. Lawmakers last year set aside more than $600 million a year for the department, but ended up spending hundreds of millions more in one-time funding to help the agency deal with high turnover and the state’s ongoing substance abuse epidemic.

The department has faced criticism since December, when the department’s former director, Mary Beth Bonaventura, resigned and accused Republican Gov. Eric Holcomb’s administration of making changes that “all but ensure children will die.”

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