The Interim Study Committees of the Indiana General Assembly are now in full swing. MCCOY has been following a few and provided testimony at the Safe Schools Interim Committee hearing on August 29. The following is a brief summary of the meetings to date:
Commission on Improving the Status of Children
The Commission met for the first time on August 21. This meeting served as the introductory meeting where each commission member gave an update on the services their agency provides and then provided a list of priorities that they would like to see the commission address, which include:
o Improve health care policy and access
o Address gaps in services to children
o Increase mental health services for children
o Juvenile justice reform
o Increase substance abuse treatment for youth
o Address staff recruitment and retention
o Increase communication and collaboration among agencies
o Many other topics were proposed and cover the continuum of prevention and intervention
The Commission’s next meeting is on October 16 and is open to public. Location to be determined.
Commission on Education
The Commission on Education has held four meetings since June. The June and July meetings focused on examining the causes for the ISTEP technical issues that arose with testing in May and proposing next steps for how to prevent those issues from occurring in the future. In August, the committee examined how withholding Temporary Assistance to Needy Families benefits is used to address truancy and how certain school corporations are dealing with the issue of absenteeism. The committee also debated whether to establish uniform definitions for excused and unexcused absences and heard testimony on the high performing school designation and how schools that are not considered high performing could be granted a waiver to allow flexibility in innovative solutions to improve their status. The next meeting is scheduled for September 13.
Committee on Child Care
The Committee on Child Care met for the first time on August 27. Bureau of Child Care director Melanie Brizzi provided an annual update on child care in the state and the committee also hear reports from the groups representing licensed centers, licensed homes and registered ministries. The next meeting is scheduled for October 1.
Child Services Oversight Committee
The Child Services Oversight Committee met on July 31 and heard updates and presentations from the Department of Child Services (DCS) and the new DCS Ombudsman Alfreda Singleton-Smith was introduced. The next meeting is October 23.
Commission on Mental Health and Addiction
The Commission on Mental Health and Addiction met on August 7 and reviewed progress of Children’s Social, Emotional, and Behavioral Health Plan and heard testimony regarding Crisis Intervention Teams. The next meeting is scheduled for September 9.
School Safety Interim Study Committee
The School Safety Interim Study Committee held its first meeting on August 29. This meeting focused on issues related to use of School Resource Officers (SROs). Testimony was provided on the grant funding process for schools, what state agency should certify SROs, and the role of an SRO including the importance of training and clear delineation of purpose in school policies. MCCOY and its partners provided testimony on the importance of training, use of caution related to criminalizing behaviors, ensuring students’ Miranda rights, issues related to disproportionality in education and juvenile justice, mental health of students and data related to school violence. The second meeting will be held on September 24 and will focus on issues related to guns in schools.
Central Indiana Transit Study Committee
The Central Indiana Transit Study Committee met on August 8 and received updates on transit in central Indiana and municipal transit issues. The next meeting will be held on September 10.
For more information about the committees, visit the General Assembly’s website: http://www.in.gov/legislative/interim/committee/index.html