INDIANAPOLIS — The former director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, who wrote a scathing resignation letter to Gov. Eric Holcomb a month ago, will soon be back working for the State of Indiana.
Mary Beth Bonaventura accepted a position with the Indiana attorney general’s office, according to a news release. Bonaventura will have the position of special counsel with Attorney General Curtis Hill’s office. She begins Jan. 22.
“I’m extremely pleased to bring aboard a leader of such caliber as Judge Bonaventura,” Hill said. “Her breadth of experience and depth of knowledge will continue to prove indispensable assets to the citizens of Indiana as she steps into this next phase of her distinguished public service.”
In her resignation letter to Holcomb, Bonaventura said she’d been stripped of power to run DCS for the past 11 months, and that Indiana children are being put at risk. Bonaventura criticized the governor’s office selection of Eric Miller to be chief of staff, despite Miller having no welfare experience. Miller helped run Holcomb’s campaign.
“The current chief of staff has engineered the hiring of his choices, driven out career professionals, engaged in bullying subordinates, created a hostile work environment, exposed the agency to lawsuits, overridden my decisions, been brazenly insubordinate, and made cost cutting decisions without my knowledge or regard for the consequences,” Bonaventura said in the letter. “I am truly the DCS director in name only. The current chief of staff, with the position and authority he has been given by your office, is the greatest threat to this agency and child welfare.”In December, Holcomb released the following statement on Bonaventura’s resignation:
“I’m grateful for Director Bonaventura’s years of service and her commitment to keeping Hoosier kids safe. I share that commitment and that’s why the state continues to make investments in the agency. We are providing record funding to DCS with nearly half a billion dollars more in funding support over the next two years. We will continue to do all we can to protect children.”
Bonaventura also alleged the Child Support Bureau, a division within DCS, is on the “verge of collapse” due to antiquated technology.
“The collapse will affect not only DCS, but the prosecutors, every noncustodial parent in Indiana that pays child support, and every child and custodial parent that receives child support,” read the letter. “With no alternative plan for modernizing child support, the administration risks a financial crisis for millions of Hoosier families, as the collapse of ISETS will stop ordinary child support payments from getting to children.”