Contact: Lindsey Ross, Senior Press Secretary
Jesse Cordray, Press Secretary Intern
STATEHOUSE (Jan. 15, 2019) – A bill authored by State Sen. Jean Leising (R-Oldenburg) to increase the amount of child fatality information available in Indiana recently passed the Senate Committee on Family and Children Services unanimously.
Senate Bill 170 would require the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) to include in their 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.
DCS reported that during 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 passed, SB 170 would give us the answers we need to approach this problem from the right angle to better protect our children.”
SB 170 will now move to the full Senate for consideration.
For a high-resolution photo of Sen. Leising, click here.