ILNews

COA: Parental rights termination set aside

Jennifer Nelson
January 1, 2008
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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a juvenile court's termination of parental rights of both parents of an infant, finding evidence presented to support the termination wasn't clear or convincing.

In In the matter of the termination of the parent-child relationship of A.B., and Angela B. and Brian J. v. Lake County Department of Child Services, No. 45A03-0712-JV-567, the appellate court ruled the court's judgment terminating the parental rights of Angela and Brian over A.B. was erroneous because the Lake County Department of Child Services failed to prove that the continuation of their relationship with the child posed a threat to their daughter's well-being.

DCS became involved with the parents after Angela took A.B. to the hospital because one of her toes had become black following an infection. A.B. was placed in emergency custody on the basis of suspected medical neglect.

A.B. was determined to be a child in need of services, and the juvenile court ordered the parents to participate in drug and alcohol evaluations, treatment recommendations, and parenting classes.

Both parents complied with all of the court orders. During the CHINS proceedings Angela and Brian moved their children - except A.B. who remained in the care of the state at the Nazareth Home - to Pennsylvania to better their home life and employment prospects. During this time, the juvenile court called for the termination of their parental rights and allowed for A.B. to be placed in a pre-adoptive foster home.

The juvenile court terminated the parents' rights to A.B. finding it wouldn't be in A.B.'s best interests to be reunified with her parents.

However, Judge Nancy Vaidik wrote, the findings made by the juvenile court didn't satisfy the burden to show A.B. needed to be removed. Also, the parents complied with all of the court's orders and had no history of abuse or neglect of any of their children, including A.B.

"Without clear and convincing evidence to support each of the factors set forth in Indiana Code (Section) 31-35-2-4(b)(2), we cannot affirm the termination of a parent-child relationship. Accordingly, the juvenile court's decision to terminate Mother's and Father's parental rights must be set aside," she wrote.
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  1. Frankly, it is tragic that you are even considering going to an expensive, unaccredited "law school." It is extremely difficult to get a job with a degree from a real school. If you are going to make the investment of time, money, and tears into law school, it should not be to a place that won't actually enable you to practice law when you graduate.

  2. As a lawyer who grew up in Fort Wayne (but went to a real law school), it is not that hard to find a mentor in the legal community without your school's assistance. One does not need to pay tens of thousands of dollars to go to an unaccredited legal diploma mill to get a mentor. Having a mentor means precisely nothing if you cannot get a job upon graduation, and considering that the legal job market is utterly terrible, these students from Indiana Tech are going to be adrift after graduation.

  3. 700,000 to 800,000 Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year in the US. Do we need a new justice center if we decriminalize marijuana by having the City Council enact a $100 fine for marijuana possession and have the money go towards road repair?

  4. I am sorry to hear this.

  5. I tried a case in Judge Barker's court many years ago and I recall it vividly as a highlight of my career. I don't get in federal court very often but found myself back there again last Summer. We had both aged a bit but I must say she was just as I had remembered her. Authoritative, organized and yes, human ...with a good sense of humor. I also appreciated that even though we were dealing with difficult criminal cases, she treated my clients with dignity and understanding. My clients certainly respected her. Thanks for this nice article. Congratulations to Judge Barker for reaching another milestone in a remarkable career.

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