Indiana DCS Director Resigns Amid Ethical Scrutiny

September 24, 2012

The director of Indiana's child services agency has resigned following reports that suggested he violated his department's ethical rules when he intervened in a case involving his grandchildren.

Gov. Mitch Daniels announced Monday he had accepted the resignation of James Payne as director of the Department of Child Services. 

Daniels defended Payne's handling of the department and said the state's work to protect children from abuse and neglect has improved under Payne's leadership.

Daniels says DCS Chief of Staff John Ryan will serve as interim director of the department effective immediately.

The statement from Gov. Daniels is as follows:

“I have accepted the resignation of Judge Jim Payne as director of the Department of Child Services.  I respect his view that his family be spared further harsh criticism, and that a difficult personal dispute, not of his own making, could be misused by those with political or special interest agendas to falsely disparage the excellent work he and his DCS co-workers have done over the last eight years.

“The leading national authorities are unanimous in praising Indiana's improvements in child protection, often labeled 'worst to first,’ during Jim Payne's tenure. In the most recent measurements year, the number of fatalities among children under DCS oversight fell to four, an all-time low.

Attacks on his record have ranged from innocently ignorant to despicably political and self-interested.  His resignation does not alter the plain truth that thousands of Indiana children are better off, and many are alive only because of the passionate and devoted leadership of this fine public servant.”

<em>(With additional reporting from Illinois Public Media)</em>

Story source: AP