Marisa Kwiatkowski, an investigative reporter at The Times (Munster), won a national public service award for her ongoing series detailing Indiana’s fragmented system of providing services to children in need of state services.
The Sigma Delta Chi public service award, announced by the national chapter of the Society of Professional Journalists, was awarded for Kwiatkowski’s series titled “Children in Peril.”
Kwiatkowski won in the 50,000-100,000 daily circulation category.
Her series revealed families throughout Indiana struggling to find services for children with severe mental illnesses or developmental disabilities and a fragmented state system that was failing kids.
It also revealed parents who were forced to plead guilty to neglect charges to obtain services for their children, even though they had been diligent in the care they provided.
In response to The Times series, state officials pledged about $25 million in funding to help fix the problem, and dialogue has begun statewide among lawmakers and social service agencies.