Rep. Jackie Walorski holds roundtable at Oaklawn in Mishawaka

NOW: Rep. Jackie Walorski holds roundtable at Oaklawn in Mishawaka

MISHAWAKA, Ind. – Indiana Congresswoman Jackie Walorski and Illinois Congressman Danny Davis held a roundtable at Oaklawn in Mishawaka on Tuesday. Davis is visiting Indiana after Walorski visited Davis’ district in Chicago back in August.

Davis and Walorski were joined by officials from the Indiana Department of Child Services and local leaders in Indiana's Second District to discuss the efforts being made to strengthen families.

Davis and Walorski were involved in the passage of the Family First Prevention Services Act — legislation that aims at keeping families together and improving child welfare.

Services that fall under the Family First Act include professional assistance for individuals suffering from mental health issues and drug abuse, as well as in-home parenting programs.

Terry Stigdon, the Director of Indiana Department of Child Services, says that children will benefit most by being with their families.

“We recognize that children have experienced trauma, and that there is an additional trauma, that, as child welfare agencies, we further inflict on these children,” Stigdon said. “So Family First says, if for any reason, a child cannot be safe at home, do we have family for them? Help put them with people that they know, if at all possible.”

The First Family Act was passed into law in 2018. One of the goals of the legislation is to prevent children from entering foster care.

The two members of Congress agreed to visit each other’s districts to learn more about the how local agencies and organizations are working together in those areas to provide services for struggling families.

Oaklawn in Mishawaka provides treatment for children, adolescents and adults experiencing mental health issues in St. Joseph and Elkhart Counties.

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