ILNews

Indiana chosen for non-resident father project

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Department of Child Services is one of four groups in the country selected to participate in a new pilot project to reach out to non-resident fathers whose children are involved in the child welfare system.

DCS, in collaboration with Indiana Fathers and Families Center and the Indiana University School of Social Work, will receive nearly $500,000 in each of the next four years from the Administration of Children and Families in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services.

The project will be piloted in Marion County and is designed to bring non-resident fathers - those not living within Marion County limits - into a relationship with their children in the state's child welfare system, said Jeff Lozer, spokesperson for DCS. The project aims to learn whether fathers can be re-engaged to support their children through an extensive curriculum, support, research, and evaluation.

The fathers can be living in Indiana or out-of-state, and typically the children will be in Marion County if they are wards of the state.

"Our target is to try to get 120 fathers re-engaged" by the end of the project, Lozer said.

The project is still in its infancy, and he isn't sure what the curriculum will entail and the means by which the information will be transmitted. The DCS will contact extended-family members who have relatives in the child welfare system to identify the missing fathers.

By re-engaging fathers, the department is hopeful it can increase the number of families reunified, but Lozer stressed reunification would happen only if the child would be placed in a safe home.
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  2. Access to the court (judiciary branch of government) is the REAL problem, NOT necessarily lack of access to an attorney. Unfortunately, I've lived in a legal and financial hell for the past six years due to a divorce (where I was, supposedly, represented by an attorney) in which I was defrauded of settlement and the other party (and helpers) enriched through the fraud. When I attempted to introduce evidence and testify (pro se) in a foreclosure/eviction, I was silenced (apparently on procedural grounds, as research I've done since indicates). I was thrown out of a residence which was to be sold, by a judge who refused to allow me to speak in (the supposedly "informal") small claims court where the eviction proceeding (by ex-brother-in-law) was held. Six years and I can't even get back on solid or stable ground ... having bank account seized twice, unlawfully ... and now, for the past year, being dragged into court - again, contrary to law and appellate decisions - by former attorney, who is trying to force payment from exempt funds. Friday will mark fifth appearance. Hopefully, I'll be allowed to speak. The situation I find myself in shouldn't even be possible, much less dragging out with no end in sight, for years. I've done nothing wrong, but am watching a lot of wrong being accomplished under court jurisdiction; only because I was married to someone who wanted and was granted a divorce (but was not willing to assume the responsibilities that come with granting the divorce). In fact, the recalcitrant party was enriched by well over $100k, although it was necessarily split with other actors. Pro bono help? It's a nice dream ... but that's all it is, for too many. Meanwhile, injustice marches on.

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