Indiana Department of Child Services

Protecting our Children, Families, and Future

Regional Service Council Minutes Region # 5    




Meeting Date:                        April 27, 2007                                           
Meeting Location:                 Tippecanoe County Office
                                               Department of Child Services
                                               111 N 4th Street
                                               Lafayette, IN 

Council Members Present: Gilbert Smith, Regional Manager; Janis Mullen, Director Carroll and Clinton County DCS; Barbara Bedrick, Director White County DCS; Coleen Hamrick, CASA Director, Tippecanoe County; Judge Rader, Warren County; Cathy Booe, FCM Supervisor, Fountain County; Donna Osborn, Foster Parent; and Kathy Shank, FCM Carroll County.

Council Members Absent: Elva James, Director Benton County DCS; and Judge Henderson, Fountain County.

Others In Attendance: James W. Payne, Director Department of Child Services; Angela Smith Grossman, Director Tippecanoe County; Cindy Mason, Director Fountain County DCS; Jackie Agee, Regional Supervisor, Whites Residential; and Judge Loretta Rush, Tippecanoe County

Meeting Minutes

Meeting Called to Order at:    7:30 am                         

  1. Gil Smith read the minutes from the February meeting. No additions or corrections were made. Barb Bedrick made a motion to approve the minutes. Jan Mullens seconded the motion. Motion passed.
  2. Judge Payne spoke regarding SB 328, SB 329 and SB 330. SB 328 deals with CHINS time frames and trying to keep them as tight as possible. It attempts to combine the detention hearing and the initial hearing within seven days of removal. SB 329 regards child support and the operation of the child support system. SB 330 allows children placed out of their school district to attend their home school. They aren’t required to attend their home school but have that option. Judge Payne also talked about additional Family Case Managers to be hired by July, 2009. We are supposed to be getting a total of 800 new workers but some legislators are trying to hold the number to 400. Governor Daniels and the budget committee are holding on to 800. Slot machines are being planned for property tax relief and depending on how many are authorized and how much is charged for them we may be able to get some money from that direction to use for Case Managers. We will not be able to accomplish what we set out to do if we don’t the number of Case Managers we planned on. Judge Payne said the legislators who are fighting this are not from our District. We are also asking for 100 additional supervisors in the budget. This would be one for every six Case Managers. The senate did not cut this number.
  3. Practice Indicator Reports – Is Practice Reform making a difference? Looking at the March Indicator Reports Region 5’s percentage of removals is up and down without a trend, there is no constant marker. If you look at substitute care it is increasing in our Region. In the pilot Regions 9 and 11 substitute care is reduced drastically because Case Managers have time to spend working with their families. Community Partners are fully engaged and caseloads are at 12 – 17. Practice Reform uses an informal network of support including relatives. These support persons are trained and supported so families are not left alone when our involvement has ended. Judges, GALs and CASAs are also being trained in Practice Reform. In Regions 9 and 18 some counties’ numbers for out of home placements are down from 50% - 18%. Regional Services Council gives us the opportunity to coordinate services and the numbers will be more dramatic as Practice Reform gets in place.
  4. Community Partners –There have been some communication issues with Wabash Valley but there will be a meeting on May 11th at Wabash Valley to finalize things. The rates are about to be set and approved and the referral process established. They should be up and running in 30 days. Referrals should be able to be made by mid-May. Benton County has already made referrals and Wabash Valley has taken them, hoping to be paid.
  5. Strategic Plan – We are building a plan for the Region based on the indicators for safety, permanency and wellbeing. Some areas already being worked on are relative placements and fewer institution placements.
  6. Updates –
    1. Additional Funding Requests – There has been no confirmation letter but the funding stream discussed at the last meeting is not going to be available. Another Practice Reform region was way ahead of us and put in a substantial request before us.
    2. Fingerprint Pilot – The fingerprint pilot is up and running in Allen, Lake, St. Joseph and Vigo counties. There will be a site at the UPS Store in Tippecanoe County. Some counties have already sent people there and it has worked well. This will be a mobile unit that the Indiana State Police use to electronically fingerprint criminals. This is done electronically and is foolproof. Prints are downloaded and sent to the FBI and are back to ISP within 48 hours and then sent to us. We may need to address what hours the UPS Store is open. We may need to ask them to stay open later one day a week but this would have to profit UPS. This service is provided by Priderock and people may sign up online and schedule a time to be fingerprinted. They may also register with an 800 number. The charge is $59 and DCS will pay for relative and DCS prints.
    3. Regional Service Council Survey from C.Leaird – Celia will be sending this survey to all RSC members asking what changes need to be made to strengthen the RSC and what the RSC is doing well.
    4. Practice Reform Training Information – 75% of our staff have completed Phase 2 training. The coaching training will begin in June.                          
  7. There has not been a Foster Parent Handbook available for two or three years. There is now a Foster Parent Guide that provides information on dealing with the court system, foster parent rights, etc. This will be available online and updated timely. It may possibly be online next week. This is a statewide guide and not a local guide. Judge Rush suggested that a local guide would be a good idea.
  8. Space – Most every county is in need of more space. Landlords are to give bids for what they can do for us. We would like each office to be similar (ceiling tile, wall paper, toilets, etc). Tippecanoe is one of the counties that are listed as being in critical need of space. Decisions are being complicated by having to consider what DFR may be doing.

Next Meeting Date, Time and Location: The next meeting will be June 29th at 7:30 a.m.  The meeting location has been changed for this date and will be at the Wabash Valley Hospital on South River Road in West Lafayette. 

Meeting Adjourned at: 8:55 am.