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COA affirms termination of parental rights for imprisoned mom

July 11, 2014

A trial court was within its authority to terminate the parental rights of a mother serving a minimum 10-year federal prison sentence for conspiracy to deal heroin, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled.

The court Friday affirmed the order of Henry Circuit Judge Mary Willis in In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Z.C., Minor Child, S.C., Mother v. The Indiana Department of Child Services, 33A01-1310-JT-434. The trial court found there was a reasonable probability that the conditions resulting in Z.C.’s removal from mother S.C.’s care would not be remedied and that the parent-child relationship posed a threat to Z.C.’s well-being.

Z.C. was born with controlled substances in his bloodstream, the opinion notes, and had to be hospitalized for weeks after his birth. Mother admitted to using heroin, morphine, Xanax and Oxycontin. Less than two months after Z.C. was born, S.C. was arrested on the federal charges and child in need of services proceedings began.

“DCS presented sufficient evidence that the conditions under which Child was removed from Mother’s care would not be remedied and that termination was in Child’s best interests," Judge Melissa May wrote for the panel. "Accordingly, we affirm."
 

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