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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. People have heard of Magna Carta, and not the Provisions of Oxford & Westminster. Not that anybody really cares. Today, it might be considered ethnic or racial bias to talk about the "Anglo Saxon common law." I don't even see the word English in the blurb above. Anyhow speaking of Edward I-- he was famously intolerant of diversity himself viz the Edict of Expulsion 1290. So all he did too like making parliament a permanent institution-- that all must be discredited. 100 years from now such commemorations will be in the dustbin of history.

  2. Oops, I meant discipline, not disciple. Interesting that those words share such a close relationship. We attorneys are to be disciples of the law, being disciplined to serve the law and its source, the constitutions. Do that, and the goals of Magna Carta are advanced. Do that not and Magna Carta is usurped. Do that not and you should be disciplined. Do that and you should be counted a good disciple. My experiences, once again, do not reveal a process that is adhering to the due process ideals of Magna Carta. Just the opposite, in fact. Braveheart's dying rebel (for a great cause) yell comes to mind.

  3. It is not a sign of the times that many Ind licensed attorneys (I am not) would fear writing what I wrote below, even if they had experiences to back it up. Let's take a minute to thank God for the brave Baron's who risked death by torture to tell the government that it was in the wrong. Today is a career ruination that whistleblowers risk. That is often brought on by denial of licenses or disciple for those who dare speak truth to power. Magna Carta says truth rules power, power too often claims that truth matters not, only Power. Fight such power for the good of our constitutional republics. If we lose them we have only bureaucratic tyranny to pass onto our children. Government attorneys, of all lawyers, should best realize this and work to see our patrimony preserved. I am now a government attorney (once again) in Kansas, and respecting the rule of law is my passion, first and foremost.

  4. I have dealt with more than a few I-465 moat-protected government attorneys and even judges who just cannot seem to wrap their heads around the core of this 800 year old document. I guess monarchial privileges and powers corrupt still ..... from an academic website on this fantastic "treaty" between the King and the people ... "Enduring Principles of Liberty Magna Carta was written by a group of 13th-century barons to protect their rights and property against a tyrannical king. There are two principles expressed in Magna Carta that resonate to this day: "No freeman shall be taken, imprisoned, disseised, outlawed, banished, or in any way destroyed, nor will We proceed against or prosecute him, except by the lawful judgment of his peers or by the law of the land." "To no one will We sell, to no one will We deny or delay, right or justice." Inspiration for Americans During the American Revolution, Magna Carta served to inspire and justify action in liberty’s defense. The colonists believed they were entitled to the same rights as Englishmen, rights guaranteed in Magna Carta. They embedded those rights into the laws of their states and later into the Constitution and Bill of Rights. The Fifth Amendment to the Constitution ("no person shall . . . be deprived of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law.") is a direct descendent of Magna Carta's guarantee of proceedings according to the "law of the land." http://www.archives.gov/exhibits/featured_documents/magna_carta/

  5. I'm not sure what's more depressing: the fact that people would pay $35,000 per year to attend an unaccredited law school, or the fact that the same people "are hanging in there and willing to follow the dean’s lead in going forward" after the same school fails to gain accreditation, rendering their $70,000 and counting education worthless. Maybe it's a good thing these people can't sit for the bar.

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