Indiana Governor Eric Holcomb has announced a new head of the Department of Child Services and an entire review of the agency.

Holcomb today announced that Terry J. Stigdon, RN, MSN will be Indiana’s next director at the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) and that he has requested a complete assessment of the department. Stigdon is currently the clinical director of operations at Riley Hospital for Children at IU Health in Indianapolis—overseeing strategy, finance, personnel, research and programs for several of the hospital’s key divisions, including emergency, trauma and nursing.

She replaces former Lake County Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura who resigned citing a lack of funding for the agency.

Stigdon’s first day with DCS will be January 22. Sam Criss, current DCS deputy director, will serve as interim director for the agency.

At the same time Stigdon is taking over the Governor is ordering a complete review of DCS.

The administration has initiated a partnership with the Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group to conduct a complete assessment of DCS to begin January 3. The Child Welfare Policy and Practice Group is a nationally recognized non-profit organization that focuses on improving child and family outcomes. The group has conducted a number of similar projects in 20 other states, a number of which were supported by the Casey Family Programs foundation.

Among the many issues the group will assess, the governor has asked the foundation to consider the following:

  • Are systems in place to assure that children and families are healthy and safe?
  • Is funding being utilized in the most appropriate ways to best serve children and taxpayers?
  • Are caseloads appropriate for staffing levels? What staffing adjustments should be made?
  • Are DCS program outcomes appropriate for services provided to Indiana children and families?
  • How do Indiana’s case load numbers, costs and program outcomes compare to other states and the nation?

The DCS assessment is expected to be complete and delivered to the governor and the new director in spring of 2018.

Holcomb administration officials say the information will be used to inform future operations of DCS to ensure state resources are deployed most effectively so that all Hoosier children in need of services are kept safe and healthy.