DCS contractor seeks donations after delayed payments from state

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. – The Indiana Department of Child Services said since December 1, the state auditor has processed more than 26,000 DCS invoices for nearly $79 million.

This comes after hundreds of DCS contracted companies complained of delayed payments for months.

Though relief is coming, DCS contracted company-- Resilient Minds-- says workers still need help during the holiday season as a result of this process.

“It’s been hard to see our contractors suffer and come to me and say, 'I can’t pay my rent,'" said Resilient Minds Owner Morey Strozier. "I mean, we almost lost our building."

So, she asked for help.

“I’ve made phone calls, literally just been walking into different locations around Indianapolis," said Strozier.

She said the community has been extremely generous. Multiple businesses have donated food, merchandise and gift cards. A local church gave contractor Katie Wangler $500.

“A complete blessing, especially right before the holidays,” said Wangler.

We have learned payments to DCS contractors were delayed for months due to a change in the way invoices are submitted and processed.

Democratic State Senator J.D. Ford has been trying to help contractors with this issue for months.

He says he’s happy to see the community step up to help.

“But I also think it’s sad that we have to kind of collect funds among us to help pay the people who are doing this work," said Senator Ford. "This should be paid through the state of Indiana.”

Governor Eric Holcomb said DCS and the state auditor are close to fixing the problem.

“No one wants to deny," said Holcomb. "It’s just that we need to make sure that the process is followed appropriately, and it is right now, but what this has taught us is it has brought everyone together.”

Senator Ford describes it differently.

“This has been kind of a disaster of the roll out and the implementation from the get go," said Ford. "And you know, perhaps maybe nobody could have seen this coming, but I think when you are rolling out a new program, you need to think about or anticipate some of the things that could go wrong and then have a plan B, but I just didn’t hear or see that.”

We asked how the governor plans to avoid this again in the future.

“Keeping your eye on the ball and staying very close with the folks who are making those requests and making sure they are filled out to the letter of the law," said Gov. Holcomb.

Strozier, her staff and other DCS contractors say even though payments have been flooding in recently, the damage of the delay is done.

“Credit hits, you have families facing eviction, they’re in court, they’re not able to put gas in their cars,” said Strozier.

But with the help of the community, Strozier said they’re not giving up.

“We are going to keep serving these families,” said Strozier.

The Indiana Auditor of State sent the following statement:

The Auditor of State has processed all DCS claims it has received for payment to date.  The Auditor of State and DCS continue to streamline processes and improve efficiencies with the assistance of vendors whose efforts to attach matching documentation to their invoices facilitates better response time from the agencies reviewing their claims.”

In addition, you mentioned Resilient Minds.  The Auditor of State has paid  more than $200,000 to this vendor since September.  The AOS does not have any other invoices outstanding to pay to Resilient Minds.  However we are not aware of what DCS may still need to review.

The DCS sent this statement in response to our story:

We continue to work diligently alongside the auditor to process vendor payments and are encouraged by the considerable progress that has been made in recent weeks. Since Dec. 1, the auditor of state has processed 26,068 DCS invoices for more than $78.7 million. We have and will continue to dedicate extra resources to this effort.

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