Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura
Indiana Department of Child Services
Mary Beth Bonaventura was appointed Director of the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) by former Governor Mike Pence in January 2013. The mission of DCS is to protect children from abuse and neglect, and work to ensure their financial support.
Prior to leading DCS, Bonaventura served Hoosiers in Lake County for over 30 years, most recently as Senior Judge of one of the toughest juvenile court systems in Indiana, the Lake County Superior Court, Juvenile Division. Judge Bonaventura was appointed Senior Judge in 1993 by then-Governor Evan Bayh after having served more than a decade as Magistrate in the Juvenile Court.
Since the start of her career in the Juvenile Court, Bonaventura has been recognized for her dedication and outstanding service to children. In 2008, then-Governor Mitch Daniels appointed her to the Indiana commission on Disproportionality in Youth Services. In 2009, she was named Chair of the Civil Rights of Children Committee for the Indiana State Bar Association, and then-Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice, Randall T. Shepard appointed her as Chair of the Child Welfare Improvement Committee.
Bonaventura has served on several community, academic and child welfare-related governing boards and committees. Currently, she serves on Indiana’s Commission on Improving the Status of Children and Indiana’s Commission to Combat Drug Abuse. She is also a member of the Marian University Board of Trustees. As a servant leader, she has received many awards and accolades including: Distinguished Alumni from Marian University, Years of Outstanding Service Award from Prevent Child Abuse Lake County, Trailblazer Award from the Indiana Black Caucus, Mental Health Advocate of the Year from the Lake County Mental Health Association, St. Joseph Worker Award from Calumet College, Pillar in the Community Award from Geminus Corporation, Wernle Catalyst for Change Regional Award (she is the first woman to receive this award), and former Indiana Governor, Mike Pence presented her with the Sagamore of the Wabash, which is the highest honor an Indiana Governor can bestow upon a Hoosier.
Bonaventura is a Lake County native who earned a Juris Doctor degree from Northern Illinois University in DeKalb, Illinois, and received an honorary Doctor of Arts and Humane Letters degree from Marian University.