Embattled Indiana Department of Child Services Director, James Payne, Resigns

By Scott Sarvay

September 24, 2012 Updated Sep 24, 2012 at 6:16 PM EDT

Indianapolis (Indiana’s NewsCenter) – After being questioned of whether he violated his agency's code of conduct through his involvement in a child neglect case involving his grandchildren, Indiana's top child-protection official resigns.

Indiana Department of Child Services Director James Payne stepped down from his position effective immediately after a recent news story published in the Indianapolis Star found that he had worked to discredit his own agency’s recommendation on a case that involved his grandchildren.

According to the Star, Payne's grandchildren lived with him and his wife after being removed from their mother's custody.

The Star also reported that Payne never stepped aside from his role at the agency during the time he was involved in his grandchildren's case. Additionally, Payne never notified Daniels of his involvement in the case or that he, at one point, was the target of an investigation into whether he slapped one of his grandchildren while in his care.

The Star reported that Payne was investigated and cleared by his own agency.

Statement from Governor Daniels about DCS director James Payne:

“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.”

Governor Daniels has asked DCS Chief of Staff John Ryan to serve as director of the department. He has agreed to assume the responsibilities, effective immediately.

To read a copy of Judge Payne’s resignation letter, Click Here.

Read the Indy Star’s article, Click Here.




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