Zay bill a unanimous pass in house

A bipartisan bill authored by State Sen. Andy Zay (R-Huntington), Senate Bill 365, that would address the Indiana Department of Child Services’ (DCS) skyrocketing caseload and escalating costs to maintain the agency, recently passed the Indiana House of Representatives unanimously.

DCS has struggled to keep up with the surging number of cases in Indiana as the foster care population in the state has increased by more than 50 percent since 2012. A statement from Zay states the rate of Hoosier children referred to child protective services is the third highest in the nation and over twice the national average. In addition, DCS is projected to be at least $238 million over budget in the current fiscal year, though the governor has kept the state budget balanced by reverting funds from other agencies to cover DCS.

“These are alarming statistics for our state,” Zay said. “SB 365 would introduce a technology platform, like the CarePortal, which would connect DCS, nonprofits, business communities and faith-based programs to strengthen child welfare resources in our communities. The CarePortal is a unique solution that would help address both the growing number of cases and costs associated with satisfying the needs of children in our state.”

Eighteen states have implemented the CarePortal in select communities and found success. More than 35,000 children and their families have had their real-time needs met by utilizing the platform since its rollout in 2015.

SB 365 returns to the Senate for consideration.