State official acknowledges some children are falling through cracks

2012-08-22T16:15:00Z 2012-08-22T20:27:07Z State official acknowledges some children are falling through cracksBy Marisa Kwiatkowski marisa.kwiatkowski@nwi.com, (219) 662-5333 nwitimes.com

INDIANAPOLIS | A Morgan Superior Court judge questioned child welfare officials Wednesday regarding why their assessment process isn't catching children who need help securing mental health services.

"What I’m finding is the CHINS 6 kids are falling through the cracks," said Judge Christopher Burnham, referring to a state category of child in need of services, also known as CHINS, petitions that indicate when children are in danger to themselves.

Earlier this year, a Times investigation revealed there is a multiagency failure to provide more intensive services to Indiana children with severe mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.

In response to Burnham's question, a top Indiana Department of Child Services official acknowledged the problem and said DCS is working with other state agencies to correct it.

"We agree those kids fall through the cracks," said John Ryan, DCS chief of staff.

The Indiana Commission on Mental Health and Addiction is slated to discuss the unmet mental health needs of children at 1 p.m. EST Monday in Senate Chambers at the Indiana Statehouse.

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