ILNews

Court affirms termination of parental rights without case plan

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Morgan County parents, including a father who dealt meth to a confidential informant while his wife and three minor children were present, lost an appeal of their termination of parental rights Tuesday.

Mother B.A. and father J.A. were charged in February 2012 with drug and child-neglect offenses. The parents were arrested and their children placed into foster care by the Department of Child Services.

The parents admitted they were unable to care for their two girls and one son who at the time of the arrest were between the ages of 4 and 7. They were adjudicated children in need of services at an initial hearing about two weeks after their parents’ arrest.

Afterward, father was convicted of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and sentenced to 14 years in prison with four years suspended. Mother pleaded guilty to one count of Class D felony neglect and was released to probation, but after a drug violation, reunification efforts ceased.

On appeal, mother claims a due process violation because she was neither given nor signed a case plan pursuant to I.C. 31-34-15-1, -2. But Judge Terry Crone wrote for the panel that the record shows it wasn’t mother’s lack of knowledge about what she needed to do to get her children back, but instead lack of participation.

“While we caution the DCS to be more cognizant of the statutory framework by which it is to abide, which includes providing a case plan to each parent, we cannot conclude that its failure to provide one to Mother resulted in a procedural irregularity so egregious that she was denied due process of law. Thus, Mother’s argument fails,” Crone wrote.

Mother and father each also failed to persuade the panel that evidence to support termination of their parental rights was insufficient. The case is In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of C.A., L.A., and M.A. (Minor Children) and B.A. (Mother) and J.A. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services,
55A04-1401-JT-37.


 



 

 

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  1. 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.

  2. Both sites mentioned in the article appear to be nonfunctional to date (March 28, 2017). http://indianalegalanswers.org/ returns a message stating the "server is taking too long to respond" and http://www.abafreelegalasnswers.org/ "can't find the server". Although this does not surprise me, it is disheartening to know that access to the judicial branch of government remains out of reach for too many citizens (for procedural rather than meritorious reasons) of Indiana. Any updates regarding this story?

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