Court reverses DCS order requiring mother to take prescribed meds

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A mother whose child was adjudicated as child in need of services won a partial victory before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday.

In In the Matter of: Am.K., A Child In Need of Services and A.M. v. Marion County Department of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc., 49A02-1207-JC-533, mother A.M. challenged the propriety of a parental participation order entered after her daughter AM.-K. was found to be a CHINS. She claimed that because the Department of Child Services failed to file a parental participation petition, the juvenile court lacked authority to order her to participate in any services or treatment. She also claimed that the order directing her to take any medications as prescribed violates her constitutional right to decide her own mental health treatment.

A.M.’s two children were removed from her custody and alleged to be CHINS after police found the mother naked behind a hotel behaving oddly. She was involuntarily committed for emergency mental health treatment and originally was taking medicine for her bipolar disorder, but stopped because it affected her existing heart condition. The mother also testified at a hearing she objected to medication on religious grounds.

The Court of Appeals found that although DCS failed to file a formal parental participation petition as described in Indiana Code 31-34-16-3, it did file a predispositional report that included all of its recommendations for the proposed plan of care, treatment, rehabilitation and placement of A.M.-K. The other child was placed with her father. The report substantially complied with the statute. Mother specifically agreed to almost all of the recommendations as to how she should fulfill her obligation as a mother except for the requirement she take all medications as prescribed.

Regarding the order she take all medications as prescribed, the Court of Appeals ruled that additional evidence is necessary to overcome A.M.’s constitutionally protected liberty interest in remaining free of unwanted intrusions in the mind and body, Judge John Baker wrote.

“Moreover, we believe that there is an inherent problem where, as here, the parental participation order does not direct Mother to take a specifically recommended medication on the basis of a doctor’s evaluation of Mother’s mental health but requires Mother to take any and all medications without regard to her objections and the possible side effects,” he wrote.

The case is remanded for further proceedings.


  • state abdicates legit role
    why does the constitution require that people suffering from mental illness be allowed to decline their meds and wander around endangering others? the constitution didnt mean that the first 200 years of the republic and today with more effective drugs than ever, why should it mean that now? how sad for families of people who suffer from serious mental illness. NAMI.ORG is a good resource for those who do.

Post a comment to this story

We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in Indiana Lawyer editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. This is ridiculous. Most JDs not practicing law don't know squat to justify calling themselves a lawyer. Maybe they should try visiting the inside of a courtroom before they go around calling themselves lawyers. This kind of promotional BS just increases the volume of people with JDs that are underqualified thereby dragging all the rest of us down likewise.

  2. I think it is safe to say that those Hoosier's with the most confidence in the Indiana judicial system are those Hoosier's who have never had the displeasure of dealing with the Hoosier court system.

  3. 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

  4. 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?)

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