FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Elizabeth Vos, Press Secretary
STATEHOUSE (June 13, 2019) — Senate Enrolled Act 1, authored by State Sen. Erin Houchin (R-Salem) was ceremonially signed into law today by Gov. Eric Holcomb. SEA 1 is a comprehensive Department of Child Services (DCS) bill aimed at improving support and assistance for vulnerable Hoosier children in the welfare system and their families.
“As a former DCS caseworker, I understand the importance of providing efficient services to vulnerable children across our state,” Houchin said. “Maintaining as much stability and familiarity as we can for children and ensuring their best interests are considered in every step of the process is critically important to ensure they have the best outcomes possible in difficult situations.”
SEA 1 requires DCS to consider the best interest of the child when making decisions regarding home placement, termination of parental rights, and adoption proceedings. It also requires DCS to attempt to identify all adult relatives of a child at the time out-of-home placement is recommended, and in subsequent months – with the aim of keeping children in the most family-like setting possible. It also creates a 24-hour contact line for Family Case Managers to assist with finding family members and for placement options.
Furthermore, SEA 1 improves rights for foster parents by providing them with greater participation in courtroom proceedings and allowing them to advocate on behalf of children in their care.
“I am proud of this legislation, which was achieved by working collaboratively with DCS, foster parents, service providers, and juvenile judges,” Houchin said. “In cases where the safety and well-being of children is at stake, it is important that we act swiftly, and with their best interests in mind.”