GREATER LAFAYETTE, Ind. (WLFI) — Child service contractors across the state of Indiana have gone months without pay. This includes multiple workers right here in Greater Lafayette.
State Representative Sheila Klinker of District 27 is getting involved. She is calling it a crisis.
“It's very difficult to find these people in the first place that are so dedicated and they do not make much money and so for them not to receive the pay that they deserve is just really unconscionable,” said Klinker.
The Department of Child Services and the State Auditor's office collaborated to create a new reviewing process to determine how contractors and vendors get paid, according to Jared Bond, a State Auditor spokesperson. Unfortunately, it has resulted in hundreds of those DCS workers not getting paid consecutively. Some have received pay for September and October and others haven't seen a paycheck since August.
“it's not working,” said Klinker.
Klinker said contractors essentially work as case managers. Their job could include getting children placed in foster care and stepping in when parents are having problems with their kids. She has been responding to multiple calls from local DCS contractors.
“One of the folks that I discussed this whole issue with did say, if she did not receive a paycheck really soon, particularly near Christmas, that she would have to find another job,” said Klinker.
Klinker said she can't let that happen. She has talked directly to DCS Deputy Chief Financial Officer Chris Fletcher. He told her the department is actively working to resolve the issue.
“They're working for ways of getting money quickly so that these folks will be paid before Christmas for their services,” said Klinker.
Klinker knows first hand why these DCS workers are so important.
“Having been a teacher and having some problems in families, I know how important these people are,” said Klinker.
Klinker talked to Chris Fletcher late last week. She said the state's Ways and Means Budget Committee and the Health Committee are expected to meet. Members will discuss plans for correcting the pay regimen.