Baird highlights local efforts to protect children, support families


STATEHOUSE — In meeting with local family case managers from the Indiana Department of Child Services and watching Family Recovery Court proceedings, State Rep. Beau Baird (R-Greencastle) is emphasizing their work to address child neglect, and the need for community volunteers.

Baird recently joined J. Michelle Chadd, director of DCS’ Putnam County office, and Justin Dearinger, director of the Montgomery County office, to learn more about their casework. He also toured Montgomery County’s Family Recovery Court and witnessed proceedings.

“I wanted to gain a better understanding of what DCS is doing in our community to help kids who are victims of abuse or neglect,” Baird said. “As a legislator, it’s important to get an idea of what resources they have and what they’re lacking, as well as the quality of care these children are receiving.”

According to the latest DCS data, there were less than 100 children with pending cases from Putnam County in October. That’s down from over 170 children in early 2020.

Baird said the number is also trending down in Montgomery County, where Montgomery County’s Family Recovery Court serves parents in child abuse or neglect cases who have substance use disorders to help them keep their families together. Program partners include the Montgomery County Public Defender’s Office, local mental health and addiction treatment providers, and the Crawfordsville Fire Department’s Project Swaddle, which provides pregnant women and new mothers home visits for additional prenatal and postpartum support services. The program is open to soon-to-be mothers within the first trimester of pregnancy and up to 90 days postpartum. Referral forms are available under the Useful Links tab on the Crawfordsville Fire Department’s webpage at

Court Appointed Special Advocates are also program partners. CASA volunteers are community members who are trained to advocate for abused and neglected children in the child welfare system. There are also Guardians ad Litem who do the same work but in court proceedings. More information on volunteering can be found at

Baird noted that 70% of Montgomery County Family Recovery Court cases result in children being reunited with their parents.

“Some of these families have not had positive experiences in courtrooms, so it’s encouraging to see all these officials work together to improve their outcomes,” Baird said. “I’m thrilled to see how much our community cares about these children.”

With the 2024 legislative session starting in January, and to continue improving efforts to protect Hoosier children and serve families, Baird encouraged constituents to reach out to him with input, ideas and concerns by emailing or calling 317-232-9600.