Perhaps some of them won't recognize the irony of what's slated to happen in a small courtroom in South Bend on the same day: Dellia Castile will be sentenced to up to 50 years in prison for not protecting her grandson, 10-year-old Tramelle Sturgis, from his father, who beat and tortured the boy to death a year ago.
"There are issues involved with DCS, there's no question about that," said state Sen. John Broden, D-South Bend and a member of the study committee. "Clearly Tramelle's death was a galvanizing force for what became a strong bipartisan effort, that we needed to take a good, hard look at everything regarding the Department of Child Services, especially starting with the intake process."
In response to media reports and concerns from law enforcement, schools and even emergency rooms, DCS has already made some changes to its centralized call center for abuse and neglect reports.
But some - such as St. Joseph County Prosecutor Michael Dvorak, St. Joseph Probate Judge Peter Nemeth, and state Rep. Gail Riecken, D-Evansville - advocate for a return to local centers where relationships among professionals can be tapped.
Cathy Graham, executive director of IARCCA, which represents more than 100 agencies that provide children's services, said recently her organization thinks there might be a way to fashion a system that balances the consistency of one call center but also can restore more local involvement.
"You can't underestimate the power of those relationships and the importance of those relationships," she said.
Graham points out that recent changes have been helpful, and that the interest of legislators and the public has been key.
"I think the practice when I was in public service (with CPS) was, 'When in doubt, go out,'" Graham said of how restrictive the decisions to investigate calls had become. "I think the pendulum is going back that way. I think they've tried to build in more flexibility in their policies."
Broden, too, said he wants to make certain the legislature takes a hard look at what happens when a report is made and how the information is shared.
Broden, a former DCS attorney, said he is concerned about how little oversight the department has functioned with, including how it defines the data it compiles and shares information with the legislature.
He, Riecken, state Rep. Vanessa Summers and Assistant Senate Democratic Leader Tim Lanane released a list Friday of their recommendations to the study committee. The list includes hot-button issues such as funding services that have been cut, oversight, training, employee morale and the sharing of information with other agencies.
The Democratic members of the study committee suggested that the "screen-out" rate of call center calls - the percentage of calls DCS does not find credible enough to take action on - drop to less than 16 percent.
In St. Joseph County, for example, that rate was more than 40 percent in August 2011 and January 2012. For the last month available, June 2012, it was more than 23 percent.
The two co-chairs of the study committee, both Republicans, publicly declined requests from Democratic members to meet in other areas of the state to allow for more public input.
Broden said he is confident that the committee can take a bipartisan tone on such an important topic, but even if its recommendations fall short, he will seek legislation during the General Assembly's long session early next year.
Child abuse concerns many legislators, not just those appointed to the committee, he said.
"We wouldn't be working as hard as we are and taking this matter as seriously as we are if we thought our efforts were in vain," Broden said. "I think there are absolutely ways we can improve the system."
Nemeth is characteristically more blunt about the loud calls for change statewide.
"If the legislature doesn't wake up and smell the coffee," he said, "I don't know what it would take."
Contact Virginia Black