Jared has spent a considerable amount of time with local nonprofit organizations, homeless shelters, faith-based organizations, people in recovery, and women who have been involved with domestic violence issues. Indiana’s social services such as the Department of Child Services (DCS) and Family and Social Services Administration (FSSA) are under threat of collapse due to the high prevalence of mental health issues, poverty, and drug addiction. This is worsened due to budget cuts and high staff turnover due to a toxic and high-stress work environment. In Lawrence County, DCS has a very high turnover rate and many people only stay a few months after being completely burned out.
Urgently Fund the Department of Child Services
In December 2017, the director of the Department of Child Services resigned, stating that State policies will “all but ensure children will die.” She also stated she couldn’t watch as children were “being systemically placed at risk, without the ability to help them.” Because the Indiana Statehouse was more concerned with Sunday alcohol sales and banning eyeball tattoos in its latest session, it did not place addressing the DCS funding crisis as a priority. Despite extending the number of legislative days due to the Republican supermajority unable to pass an $80 million tax cut in time, the Indiana Statehouse has decided to kick the can down the road and wait until next year to decide funding levels. Jared will strive to be DCS’s most vocal advocate. We need to protect Hoosier children.
Perform a Comprehensive Review of DCS and FSSA
Jared would like to see a comprehensive review of DCS and FSSA, including client satisfaction. There are many vulnerable people in District 65 and across Indiana. Many people do not want to be on welfare programs, such as food stamps and financial assistance, but feel they have no choice to feed and provide a survivable standard of living for themselves and their family members. The vulnerable should be provided the necessary support they need for extraordinarily difficult periods in their lives, and they must also be linked to the resources to become self-sufficient and prosperous members of their communities.
Jared would also like to pass legislation to create a “Hoosier Innovation Fellowship,” inspired by the Presidential Innovation Fellowship created by President Obama. The goal is to attract talented people in user experience and design, data analytics, data visualization, marketing, and digital strategy working in the private sector to work to make state government websites easier for both government employees and Hoosier residents. Some health practitioners, for example, are not using INSPECT properly to report people who have a prescription for controlled substances. Hoosier Innovation Fellows can take on this challenge to make the INSPECT website easier to use and more accessible for the less technologically inclined.