Court's juvenile division launches modest means program

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A new modest means program has been launched for the Marion Superior Court ;s juvenile division to help families who might not otherwise be able to afford legal representation in CHINS cases.

Set up by the Indianapolis Bar Association and juvenile court earlier this year, this program is by court referral only and aimed at supporting families whose income disqualifies them for low and no-cost legal representation from the Marion County Public Defender ;s Office and other legal-assistance programs.

Juvenile court officials will screen potential families in civil CHINS cases and make referrals to participating IBA attorneys who ;ve agreed to reduced rates and modest retainers. Qualifying families can consult with an attorney for a flat fee of $25 and an hourly rate of $50 thereafter.

Families qualifying for Modest Means may earn up to 175 percent of the federal poverty guidelines, which is approximately $34,800 annually for a family of four.

"The program is designed to provide support and legal representation to parents whose children have been taken away, who need sound legal counsel, but are caught in the middle," Marion Superior Juvenile Judge Marilyn Moores said. "We are making it more affordable for all families to benefit from professional, legal counsel in CHINS cases if they choose to do so."

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