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COA remands parental rights case

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Finding that a trial judge and Indiana Department of Child Services didn’t follow the law before involuntarily terminating parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals has sent the case back to Elkhart Circuit Court.

In Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of K.E., and T.E. and J.E., T.E. and J.E. v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, No. 20A05-1104-JT-206, the Court of Appeals reversed the involuntary termination of parental rights of T.E. and J.E. to a child born in March 2010.

The Elkhart County office of the Indiana DCS took emergency protective custody of the then-2-month-old child, K.E. The state filed a petition alleging K.E. was a child in need of services. Both parents admitted to the allegations of the CHINS petition. The trial court in July 2010 removed K.E. from the home after an evidentiary hearing and later terminated the parents’ rights in December after a hearing.

But the trial court didn’t follow Indiana Code 31-34-21-5.6 in allowing more time to lapse between the removal and the termination or finding that reasonable efforts for family preservation or reunification had happened or that those efforts weren’t required. That was reversible error, the appellate court found.

“Our conclusion is based solely upon ECDCS’ failure to comply with the statutory mandate,” the court wrote. “We express no opinion regarding the sufficiency of the evidence relating to the remaining elements of the termination petition. In reaching our decision we are keenly aware of the fact that K.E.’s safety and emotional well-being hang in the balance. Further delay in the final resolution of K.E.’s case is regrettable. Nevertheless, ECDCS alleged, but failed to prove removal according to the mandates of Indiana Code section 31-35-2-4(b)(2)(A).”

 

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

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  4. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

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