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Court affirms CHINS finding of child abandoned by parents

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The Indiana Court of Appeals rejected arguments by parents that their son should have been found to be a child in need of services under Indiana Code 31-34-1-6 because he substantially endangers his own health or the health of his family members. The appellate judges affirmed the CHINS finding under I.C. 31-34-1-1 that the parents had abandoned the child once he was placed in an emergency shelter.

C.U., born in December 2000, has a history of mental health issues, some of which were treated in Daviess County during a CHINS proceeding involving his biological mother and siblings. When that case closed, his father, C.U. Sr., and his wife, J.U., took the children. J.U. subsequently adopted the children. He was in therapy when he moved in with the family, but it ended due to scheduling conflicts.

C.U. claimed in April 2013 that J.U. abused him. He was placed in the emergency shelter care section of Lutherwood in Indianapolis. The Department of Child Services filed a petition alleging C.U. was a CHINS under I.C. 31-34-1-1 and -2. The parents denied the allegations. They also refused to pick up C.U. from the shelter or participate in any services. They claimed because of his mental health issues, he was a danger to himself and their family.

The trial court found C.U. to be a CHINS under I.C. 31-34-1-1 and ordered the family to participate in services recommended by DCS.

The judges rejected the parents’ claim that their case is similar to In re V.H., 967 N.E.2d 1066, 1072 (Ind. Ct. App. 2012), in which the COA reversed a CHINS adjudication and parental participation order. In that case, the mother tried to provide for her daughter, who had a mental health disorder, and had contacted police about altercations with her daughter.

“In sum, the Parents refused to provide shelter or treatment for the Child, leaving the Child’s care in the hands of the DCS. Although the Parents testified that the Child needs to be institutionalized, they took no steps to acquire such treatment for him and only assured the continuation of that treatment by their non-participation in the Child’s life. These facts support the trial court’s determination that the Child’ physical or mental condition was seriously impaired or seriously endangered as a result of the Parents’ inability, refusal, or neglect in supplying the Child with the necessary shelter, medical care, or supervision and that the Child was in need of care, treatment, or rehabilitation that the Child was not receiving and was unlikely to be provided or accepted without the coercive intervention of the court,” Judge Edward Najam wrote in In the Matter of C.U., A Child in Need of Services, C.U. and J.U. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 49A05-1307-JC-354.  
 

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  3. The practitioners and judges who hail E-filing as the Saviour of the West need to contain their respective excitements. E-filing is federal court requires the practitioner to cram his motion practice into pigeonholes created by IT people. Compound motions or those seeking alternative relief are effectively barred, unless the practitioner wants to receive a tart note from some functionary admonishing about the "problem". E-filing is just another method by which courts and judges transfer their burden to practitioners, who are the really the only powerless components of the system. Of COURSE it is easier for the court to require all of its imput to conform to certain formats, but this imposition does NOT improve the quality of the practice of law and does NOT improve the ability of the practitioner to advocate for his client or to fashion pleadings that exactly conform to his client's best interests. And we should be very wary of the disingenuous pablum about the costs. The courts will find a way to stick it to the practitioner. Lake County is a VERY good example of this rapaciousness. Any one who does not believe this is invited to review the various special fees that system imposes upon practitioners- as practitioners- and upon each case ON TOP of the court costs normal in every case manually filed. Jurisprudence according to Aldous Huxley.

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