Statement from Senator Holdman


  Excerpt from the Statement Sen. Holdman made late Tuesday on the floor of the Senate through a Point of Personal Privilege. He introduced his statement by thanking Sen. Miller for hearing the bill and describing his frustration with the incredible misinformation that was being spread about SB56. See his comments. For those of you who don’t know process, this was unusual for a senator to use point of personal privilege. I invite you to thank Sen. Holdman for his statement and commitment to child safety.

Senator Travis Holdman

Point of Personal Privilege (February 22, 2011)

My wife and I served as shortterm missionaries in Haiti shortly after being married. While there for two years we worked with children and youth from running nutritional centers to organizing church youth groups. In our service, in Haiti’s interior Artibonite River valley, we witnessed children dying due to blatant ignorance. Superstition and voodoo were real and played out in forms of intentional infliction of unsanitary conditions that resulted in tetanus and other disease long eradicated in our country. We saw a number of children gasping for breath as the final symptoms of disease. We witnessed a number of children intentional starved and victims of failuretothrive due to the belief in voodoo.

After our two years of service we returned to Indiana where I served as a Child Protection Service (CPS caseworker and supervised CPS as a County Director. Here in Indiana I was witness to children bruised, burned, scarred and a few killed at the hands of their caretakers. The state’s Child Bureau received complaints on unsupervised child care ministries and church day centers. Here are a few of the complaints from a list eight pages long for the last year.

 

  • During the tour of the facility the complainant encountered two employees who had an odor of marijuana and overheard a conversation between the two employees about drug use.
  • Caller stated that the ratio in the 2 – 3 year old room as 1:14 and it was utter chaos.
  • Staff store clothing soiled with fecal material in a baggie with clean items in the children’s cubbies.
  • Employee has a felony conviction and uses illegal drugs.
  • Husband of the director works/volunteers at the facility and has a criminal conviction
  • A former employee, who has a substantiation of child neglect, is again working at the facility.
  • A 2year old was bruised and scratched by a staff person.
  • Staff ratio for infants and toddlers is 32:1.
  • When caller went to director with concerns, director said not to say “a word about what goes on here.”
  • Doors are locked at all times and parents cannot get in to check on their children.
  • The day care janitor has felony convictions and no background checks have been run. Facility hides the janitor during state compliance inspections.
  • There may be gang activity. Vice Lords are on the premises.
  • Center is rewashing paper plates, paper cups and plastic forks and spoons.
  • Director allows nephew to use a back room where he drinks and smokes pot.
  • Center receiving expired and spoiled food from the local food bank.
  • There are 26 children between 2 – 5 years old being cared for by one staff. 7 – 9 babies being cared for by one worker.
  • An employee tied up a 7year old male as a form of discipline. Child has a history of mental disabilities

I recently received an email which said: “I am the mother of two year old little girl. Late 2009, early 2010, my daughter attended an unlicensed registered day care ministry. The operator is a convicted felon with a CPS substantiation for child abuse/neglect. Indiana code prohibits her from being in the facility during business hours when children are present, however, to date she continues to be there. She also continues to employee individuals without obtaining the required criminal background. My daughter was mistreated, neglect and fed bare minimums of food for lunch. Changes to the law are long overdue and until this happens, our children will continue to pay the price. Parents like myself need reassurance that the state care about our children.”

I believe Jesus calls us to protect the “least of these” not to get caught up in the power struggle of politics.

Jesus calls us to protect the “least of these.”

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One response to “Statement from Senator Holdman

  1. Sen. Holden, does this mean that you are in support of all who care for children follow the same set of guidelines regardless of being a licensed center or a faith based ministry?