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Appeals court affirms out-of-state placement of child with father

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A mother whose son was placed with his father in California after the Department of Child Services found her children to be children in need of services failed to convince a panel of the Indiana Court of Appeals that the placement was erroneous or that the DCS didn’t make a reasonable effort to preserve the family.

“We believe that the evidence in this case supported the continued out-of-state placement with M.S.’s natural father, which the trial court found to be in the child’s best interest,” Chief Judge Margret Robb wrote in In the Matter of M.S. (A Child Alleged in Need of Services), and K.S., (Mother) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, 67A04-1305-JC-212. “Therefore, the trial court’s decision to place M.S. with Father and eventually dismiss the CHINS proceedings was not error."

Mother K.S. admitted during a CHINS hearing to substance abuse problems and that she had no permanent residence, vehicle or phone. DCS has found her missing on a visit to her home where the children had been left alone, according to the record.

As father’s service in the military unwound, he eventually took M.S. with him to live in San Diego, and DCS requested to dismiss the CHINS proceeding. On appeal, mother argued DCS neglected its duty under I.C. 31-34-21-5.5 to make reasonable efforts to reunify or preserve a family.

“The health and safety of M.S. was served by his placement with Father,” Robb wrote in an opinion joined by Judge Michael Barnes. “Moreover, the placement of M.S. with Father was a familial reunification of sorts, albeit not of the kind Mother would have preferred. In light of the circumstances, we believe DCS’s reunification efforts were reasonable.”

Judge Elaine Brown concurred in a separate opinion, but said the father’s home should have been inspected before the boy was placed with his father and that DCS was too quick to terminate the CHINS proceeding, which took place one week after father’s home had been inspected.

“Under such circumstances, despite the motion by DCS to dismiss the CHINS petition, I believe that M.S. would have been better served had the court ... ordered that DCS continue with services for a period of time to monitor Father’s parenting and compliance with the terms of the decree,” Brown wrote.
 

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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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