Former Gov. Mitch Daniels' Newsroom

Contact: Jane Jankowski
Phone: 317-232-1622

For Immediate Release: May 12, 2005
Governor signs act creating Department of Child Services
INDIANAPOLIS (May 12, 2005) – Governor Mitch Daniels today signed into law the bill that creates the Department of Child Services

INDIANAPOLIS (May 12, 2005) – Governor Mitch Daniels today signed into law the bill that creates the Department of Child Services. The legislation, paired with the funding in the next two-year budget to hire and train 400 additional child protection caseworkers, will reorganize and better equip Indiana to protect Hoosier children and their families.


Indiana has had a long series of tragic events involving children and an overburdened system to protect them from abusive situations.


“These tragedies made it clear to Hoosiers that fundamental change was needed to better protect our children,” said Daniels. “This legislation and our new crew led by Child Services Director Jim Payne are reshaping government to make sure that Hoosier children who need the state's protection receive it, and children who are entitled to financial support get it.”


Payne, a former juvenile court judge and child advocate, is the first director of the new department.


“Thanks to the governor’s leadership and the work of the General Assembly, we now have a unique opportunity to transform child services into a system of excellence,” said Payne. “Our sole mission is to protect children, preserve families when appropriate, and provide permanency for children in a timely manner.”


This act codifies the Department of Child Services that Daniels created by issuing Executive Order 05-15 on his second day in office. The act transfers Child Protective Services, the Bureau of Child Support, adoption services, foster care services, CHINS, independent living services, The Youth Services Bureau, Project Safe Place, and Healthy Families from the Family and Social Services Administration into the new department. 


This new act also reforms the state’s child support central collection unit and authorizes the hiring of private collection agents to recover significantly past due payments. According to the federal Office of Child Support Enforcement, Indiana ranks 43rd in the country in the collection of child support -- collecting only about half the dollars owed. Employers will now be required to send money that is withheld from employees’ paychecks under child support orders to the state central collection unit instead of to the county clerks.  Without this change, Indiana could have been penalized hundreds of millions of dollars for violating an exemption from federal law. The exemption, which the state has been operating under for many years, requires all child support payments to be sent to the state.


The bill also makes changes to Indiana law to finally bring the state into compliance with the federal Child Abuse and Prevention Treatment Act (CAPTA). Until now, Indiana was the only state in the country not to be CAPTA compliant and will receive significant additional federal monies as a result of this bill. 


Senator Connie Lawson, R-Danville, and Rep. Robert Behning, R-Indianapolis, carried this piece of the governor’s agenda in the General Assembly. Co-sponsors were Rep. Mary Kay Budak, R-La Porte, and Rep. Vaneta Becker, R-Evansville. The bill (SB 529) passed unanimously in the Senate and 85-1 in the House.