Contact: Lindsey Ross, Senior Press Secretary
STATEHOUSE (April 1, 2019) – A bill authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) that would increase the amount of child fatality information available in Indiana recently passed the Senate unanimously.
Senate Enrolled Act 170 would require the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) to include in its child fatality report whether each death occurred while the child was placed in foster care or once the child, after being in foster care, was returned to a natural parent. The bill would also require DCS to report the data from the preceding calendar year before Dec. 31 each year.
DCS reported that between July 1, 2015, and June 30, 2016, 59 child fatalities occurred in Indiana. Of these deaths, 24 were due to abuse and 35 were due to neglect. The report also found that caregiver stressors played a role in many of the child fatalities, with insufficient income and substance abuse cited most commonly. Additionally, 46 percent of the deaths were caused by a weapon, including a body part.
“The number of children in Indiana dying from abuse and neglect is unacceptable,” Leising said. “Right now, the DCS fatality report, which, by law, must be created annually, tells us how many deaths occurred and their primary cause, but before we can find solutions to this issue, we need to know where these deaths are taking place. If signed into law, SEA 170 would give us the answers we need to approach this problem from the right angle to better protect our children.”
SEA 170 will now be considered by Gov. Eric Holcomb.
For a high-resolution photo of Sen. Leising, click here.