Increasing public safety for Hoosier families

Posted by: Kathryn Frakes  | Wednesday, February 25, 2015

As a legislator, it is my job to recognize dangerous situations for all Hoosiers, but especially those who are least able to defend themselves. It’s also my job to support legislation that protects and better serves the at-risk and suffering in Indiana. It’s imperative that we take necessary and reasonable steps to protect our fellow men, women and children who find themselves in a crisis they cannot resolve on their own. For this reason, I am pleased that public safety is a top priority for House Republicans this session.

House Republicans are taking a holistic approach to protecting Hoosiers – from providing funding for prenatal care to funding criminal justice initiatives, domestic violence prevention efforts and resource hotlines. These efforts work towards making Indiana a state in which families can feel safe and have access to resources when they have nowhere else to turn.

This year, House Republicans announced the Indiana Coalition Against Domestic Violence (ICADV) as their philanthropy. In pairing with the ICADV, House Republicans are focused on combatting domestic violence in Indiana. House Bill (HB) 1007 works to provide more funding to domestic violence prevention by doubling the state budget appropriation. According to the ICADV, 1,743 men, women and children were denied shelter due to overcapacity in Indiana. I know that by working together, we can increase public safety and battle domestic violence in our communities by creating a safe environment for Hoosier children and families.

Another issue that Hoosiers are facing is infant mortality. Our state is ranked 5th in the nation for highest infant mortality rate, primarily due to the poor or lack of access to prenatal care. HB 1004 establishes the Safety PIN (protecting Indiana’s newborns) grant program and fund administered by the Indiana State Department of Health (ISDH). The fund provides flexibility to allow for proposals that would target the leading causes of infant mortality. Almost one third of pregnant women do not receive early prenatal care and Safety PIN aims to provide the essential education and resources to new and expecting mothers in Indiana.

House Republicans are also addressing criminal recidivism rates in Indiana. HB 1006 creates a $50 million grant program to be administered by Indiana Judicial Center (IJC). It allows the IJC to award grants to support corrections programs and alternatives to incarceration. By combating the issues of recidivism, we can work to ensure our community is a safe environment, and hopefully reduce our long term costs

These issues are battled on many fronts, but Hoosiers rely on an initial resource to point them to the services they need. This is what Connect2Help 2-1-1 is for. HB 1010 adds domestic violence and infant mortality to the list of issues for which 2-1-1 service providers must provide information and assistance. In the past year alone, 2-1-1 has served more than 626,000 callers in need of human services that include helping seniors, veterans, and victims of disaster/emergency situations.

I am happy that the House Republican Agenda has public safety as a top priority this session. It is our job to ensure that the resources and funding are available to best assist all Hoosiers.  Whether it be joining with ICADV or providing prenatal care, incarceration alternatives or resource hotlines, I am proud to be a member of a caucus that is taking initiative to solve these problems for Hoosiers across the state.

Regarding any questions or concerns, please contact my office at 317-232-9647 or h52@iga.in.gov. To learn more about legislation this session, please visit www.iga.in.gov.

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