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Indiana DCS Director Mary Bonaventura to step down

Posted: 9:46 PM, Dec 15, 2017
Updated: 2017-12-15 21:46:54-05

INDIANAPOLIS -- The director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, Mary Beth Bonaventura, is stepping down effective December 27.

She submitted a resignation to Gov. Eric Holcomb.

Then-Gov. Mike Pence appointed Bonaventura in 2013, and Bonaventura sat down with Call 6 Investigates and vowed to make improvements to the embattled agency.

The Indiana Department of Child Services has faced criticism for child deaths, staff turnover and violations of state law.

Child abuse and neglect reports are on the rise, records show.

CHINS (Child in Need of Services) cases, which often involve cases of child abuse and neglect, were up statewide in January 2017, compared to January 2016.

In January 2017, the Department of Child Services saw 23,120 cases statewide, a 15% increase from January 2016 in which the state had 20,144 CHINS cases

Between 2007 and 2012, the deaths of 219 Hoosier children were attributed to abuse and neglect . Fifty of those had a prior history with DCS.

MORE Report: DCS turnover, caseloads affecting Family Drug Court

No reason was available Friday night for Bonaventura’s resignation.

The governor has begun the search for a new director to lead agency.

“I am grateful to Director Bonaventura for her service at the Department of Child Services over the past five years,” said Holcomb in an statement to RTV6. “ She has demonstrated unwavering commitment to keeping Hoosier children safe and has led this important state agency in the midst of a growing opioid epidemic that has impacted so many families.”

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