BSW and MSW students called true heroes for their commitment to help protect Indiana's children

Indiana University School of Social Work Dean Michael Patchner and James Payne, the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, praised BSW and MSW graduates as true heroes for their decisions to help protect Indiana's children.

“My challenge to you is to continue what individuals who have sat in these chairs before you,” Payne said at a celebration ceremony in the Commons in the School of Social Work building on May 25. “That is to be committed to the work that is so important,” Payne said. “I don’t believe our state can be successful, I don’t believe our nation can be successful, I don’t think we as a human race can be successful, if we don’t take care of those who are least capable of taking care of themselves.”

The former juvenile court judge told the graduates that will improve the lives of the families they work with in remarkable ways. “Frankly, I am envious of those of you who knock on the door and step over the threshold and say, I am here from the department. We are here to serve you as a family.”

Dean Patchner told the graduates, who either will or already work at DCS, how proud he was of the journey they embarked on to help children. He recounted how he had just met with a writer assigned to do a story about how Indiana has transformed its child welfare services. “Ten years ago this was a different place.” He told the students how he had served as chairman of the Indiana Commission on Child Abuse and Neglect and how the commission had developed a blue print to improve the state’s child protective services.

At the same time, Mitch Daniels was running for governor, who seized upon the commission’s report. One of his his first acts as  governor was to create DCS and name Judge Payne as its director, Patchner explained. The state worked with the schools of social work from around Indiana, a partnership was forged the infrastructure needed to transform the state’s child protective services. The Indiana University School of Social Work oversees the partnership.

At a the Spirit of Philanthropy ceremony held at IUPUI in April, the School of Social Work honored Payne, DCS and the partnership between the agency and the Indiana University of Social Work. In the middle of the budget session of the Indiana General Assembly, the governor took the time to come to IUPUI to talk about the importance of the partnership, Patchner said. Governor Daniels spoke of the importance of the work by child welfare workers, a job where there is no margin for error. “When people make a mistake, it is on the news and in the newspaper,” the dean noted. The governor ranked the work by DCS with the duties of the Indiana National Guard and the state police.

“We are so proud of where you are today,” the dean said. “I congratulate each and every one of you.”

Press Release Contact:
Rob Schneider
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