Child Support Court being reopened in Gary

Marilyn Odendahl
December 4, 2013
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Although an appeal is pending in the Indiana Court of Appeals, the child support court that had been consolidated to Crown Point in early 2013 is moving back to Gary.

The IV-D Child Support Court in Gary was relocated by former Lake County Juvenile Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura. Following Bonaventura’s decision, a complaint against the move was filed in Lake Circuit Court by several interested parties including Gary Mayor Karen Freeman-Wilson.

Judge Thomas Stefaniak Jr. said the consolidation created an access to justice problem. Residents of Gary, East Chicago and Hammond who do not own a car would have a difficult time finding transportation to Crown Point.

“I have the highest respect for Judge Bonaventura,” Stefaniak said. “I can see why she did that. I don’t criticize her reasons. I just hold a different opinion.”

Also, he said, a courtroom for the child support court has been refurbished in the Robert D. Rucker Building and a parking lot is being added nearby which should alleviate some of the previous physical constraints and logistical problems with the Gary location.

Lake Circuit Court Judge George Paras had issued a temporary restraining order stopping the relocation. An appeal was then filed with the Court of Appeals.

Stefaniak and Freeman-Wilson made a joint announcement Dec. 4 that an agreement had been reached that should bring a settlement to the litigation surrounding the move of the IV-D Child Support Court. They attributed the agreement to a “collaborative effort” involving Lake County Commissioner Roosevelt Allen, Lake County Clerk Michael Brown, Lake County Prosecutor Bernard Carter, and Lake County Council members Elsie Franklin and Jerome Prince.

Freeman-Wilson discussed the case in September when she spoke in Indianapolis at the Marion County Bar Association’s Kuykendall-Conn Dinner. She said she had met with Bonaventura, now director of the Indiana Department of Child Services, and when they could not reach an understanding, the mayor decided to join the lawsuit.

If the litigation gets remanded to the trial court, Stefaniak believes a motion to dismiss will be granted. Even though the lawsuit has not been formally settled, the judge said he met with county leaders, talked to his staff and decided that moving the court back to Gary now was the right thing to do.

Stefaniak will assume full-time responsibilities at the Lake County Juvenile Court on Dec. 20. He anticipated the IV-D Child Support Court would reopen in Gary at the start of February 2014.




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  1. I have an open CHINS case I failed a urine screen I have since got clean completed IOP classes now in after care passed home inspection my x sister in law has my children I still don't even have unsupervised when I have been clean for over 4 months my x sister wants to keep the lids for good n has my case working with her I just discovered n have proof that at one of my hearing dcs case worker stated in court to the judge that a screen was dirty which caused me not to have unsupervised this was at the beginning two weeks after my initial screen I thought the weed could have still been in my system was upset because they were suppose to check levels n see if it was going down since this was only a few weeks after initial instead they said dirty I recently requested all of my screens from redwood because I take prescriptions that will show up n I was having my doctor look at levels to verify that matched what I was prescripted because dcs case worker accused me of abuseing when I got my screens I found out that screen I took that dcs case worker stated in court to judge that caused me to not get granted unsupervised was actually negative what can I do about this this is a serious issue saying a parent failed a screen in court to judge when they didn't please advise

  2. I have a degree at law, recent MS in regulatory studies. Licensed in KS, admitted b4 S& 7th circuit, but not to Indiana bar due to political correctness. Blacklisted, nearly unemployable due to hostile state action. Big Idea: Headwinds can overcome, esp for those not within the contours of the bell curve, the Lego Movie happiness set forth above. That said, even without the blacklisting for holding ideas unacceptable to the Glorious State, I think the idea presented above that a law degree open many vistas other than being a galley slave to elitist lawyers is pretty much laughable. (Did the law professors of Indiana pay for this to be published?)

  3. Paul Hartman of Burbank, Oh who is helping Sister Fuller with this Con Artist Kevin Bart McCarthy scares Sister Joseph Therese, Patricia Ann Fuller very much that McCarthy will try and hurt Patricia Ann Fuller and Paul Hartman of Burbank, Oh or any member of his family. Sister is very, very scared, (YES, I AM) This McCarthy guy is a real, real CON MAN and crook. I try to totall flatter Kevin Bart McCARTHY to keep him from hurting my best friends in this world which are Carolyn Rose and Paul Hartman. I Live in total fear of this man Kevin Bart McCarthy and try to praise him as a good man to keep us ALL from his bad deeds. This man could easy have some one cause us a very bad disability. You have to PRAISAE in order TO PROTECT yourself. He lies and makes up stories about people and then tries to steal if THEY OWN THRU THE COURTS A SPECIAL DEVOTION TO PROTECT, EX> Our Lady of America DEVOTION. EVERYONE who reads this, PLEASE BE CAREFUL of Kevin Bart McCarthy of Indianapolis, IN My Phone No. IS 419-435-3838.

  4. Joe, you might want to do some reading on the fate of Hoosier whistleblowers before you get your expectations raised up.

  5. I had a hospital and dcs caseworker falsify reports that my child was born with drugs in her system. I filed a complaint with the Indiana department of health....and they found that the hospital falsified drug screens in their investigation. Then I filed a complaint with human health services in Washington DC...dcs drug Testing is unregulated and is indicating false positives...they are currently being investigated by human health services. Then I located an attorney and signed contracts one month ago to sue dcs and Anderson community hospital. Once the suit is filed I am taking out a loan against the suit and paying a law firm to file a writ of mandamus challenging the courts jurisdiction to invoke chins case against me. I also forwarded evidence to a u.s. senator who contacted hhs to push an investigation faster. Once the lawsuit is filed local news stations will be running coverage on the situation. Easy day....people will be losing their jobs soon...and judge pancol...who has attempted to cover up what has happened will also be in trouble. The drug testing is a kids for cash and federal funding situation.