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Concerns about CHINS petitions raised during budget hearings

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After the Indiana Department of Child Services made its presentation to the Senate Appropriations Committee Thursday, the discussion quickly turned to Child in Need of Services petitions.

Sen. Patricia Miller, R-Indianapolis, asked DCS Chief of Staff John Ryan if giving prosecutors the ability to file CHINS petitions is appropriate.

“It’s fine,” Ryan replied.

Senate Bill 164 would allow a prosecuting attorney to request a juvenile court to authorize the filing of a petition alleging that a child is in need of services. Prepared by the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee, the bill has been returned to the Senate with amendments.

Ryan went on to explain that these children are not being neglected or abused, they have behavioral health problems. Prosecutors say these youngsters do not belong in the juvenile justice system, but in a care facility. He also noted that DCS is working with 25 community mental health centers around the state to provide the services needed for the children.

Ryan served as the agency’s director from September 2012 until Gov. Mike Pence appointed Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura to the post. Both Ryan and Bonaventura appeared before the Senate committee today.

Appropriations chair Sen. Luke Kenley, R-Noblesville, raised concerns about giving prosecutors the ability to file CHINS petitions. Prior to DCS being established, he said, services and costs varied from county to county with some areas not having services at all.

When DCS was separated from the Family and Social Services Administration, prosecutors lost their ability to file CHINS petitions. Kenley said he is troubled that proposed legislation returning that ability gives prosecutors complete veto power over the handling of these cases.

Specifically, he said he is concerned if the DCS makes a recommendation that the prosecutor disagrees with, the prosecutor would have the sole authority to decide not to follow it and could then proceed in another way contrary to the system DCS has set up to try to handle these situations. He wants language added to the measure that would require the prosecutor to place the child back into the system of care the state has already built.

Both Ryan and Bonaventura said they would have no problem with such language.  

After the hearing, Kenley said, “We’ve set up that framework and both the prosecutor and the judge have ways that they can object to a particular treatment … , but they do not have the power to take the child out of that system which we’ve set up for those services.”


 

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  1. Just an aside, but regardless of the outcome, I 'm proud of Judge William Hughes. He was the original magistrate on the Home place issue. He ruled for Home Place, and was primaried by Brainard for it. Their tool Poindexter failed to unseat Hughes, who won support for his honesty and courage throughout the county, and he was reelected Judge of Hamilton County's Superior Court. You can still stand for something and survive. Thanks, Judge Hughes!

  2. CCHP's real accomplishment is the 2015 law signed by Gov Pence that basically outlaws any annexation that is forced where a 65% majority of landowners in the affected area disagree. Regardless of whether HP wins or loses, the citizens of Indiana will not have another fiasco like this. The law Gov Pence signed is a direct result of this malgovernance.

  3. I gave tempparry guardship to a friend of my granddaughter in 2012. I went to prison. I had custody. My daughter went to prison to. We are out. My daughter gave me custody but can get her back. She was not order to give me custody . but now we want granddaughter back from friend. She's 14 now. What rights do we have

  4. This sure is not what most who value good governance consider the Rule of Law to entail: "In a letter dated March 2, which Brizzi forwarded to IBJ, the commission dismissed the grievance “on grounds that there is not reasonable cause to believe that you are guilty of misconduct.”" Yet two month later reasonable cause does exist? (Or is the commission forging ahead, the need for reasonable belief be damned? -- A seeming violation of the Rules of Profession Ethics on the part of the commission) Could the rule of law theory cause one to believe that an explanation is in order? Could it be that Hoosier attorneys live under Imperial Law (which is also a t-word that rhymes with infamy) in which the Platonic guardians can do no wrong and never owe the plebeian class any explanation for their powerful actions. (Might makes it right?) Could this be a case of politics directing the commission, as celebrated IU Mauer Professor (the late) Patrick Baude warned was happening 20 years ago in his controversial (whisteblowing) ethics lecture on a quite similar topic: http://www.repository.law.indiana.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1498&context=ilj

  5. I have a case presently pending cert review before the SCOTUS that reveals just how Indiana regulates the bar. I have been denied licensure for life for holding the wrong views and questioning the grand inquisitors as to their duties as to state and federal constitutional due process. True story: https://www.scribd.com/doc/299040839/2016Petitionforcert-to-SCOTUS Shorter, Amici brief serving to frame issue as misuse of govt licensure: https://www.scribd.com/doc/312841269/Thomas-More-Society-Amicus-Brown-v-Ind-Bd-of-Law-Examiners

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