ILNews

Court upholds out-of-state juvenile placement

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The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the placement of a juvenile delinquent in an out-of-state shelter care facility over the objection of the Indiana Department of Child Services, finding the trial court complied with statutes that allow it to place the juvenile in a non-Indiana facility. A recent change to one of those statutes now shifts the burden of payment to out-of-state facilities from DCS to the counties.

In the case In the Matter of D.S., Indiana Dept. of Child Services v. D.S. and Madison County Superior Court, No. 48A02-0905-JV-428, the appellate court granted DCS' request for expedited review of the trial court's May 19, 2009, modified dispositional order that placed D.S. in a facility in Arizona contrary to the DCS' placement recommendation.

After considering the recommendations from DCS and the probation department, with other evidence, the Madison Superior Court rejected DCS' placement recommendations and followed the recommendation of the probation department to put D.S. in a facility in Arizona. The trial court made the decision based on D.S.' history of gun and gang-related offenses, that he is a significant risk to the safety of the community and himself, and that he needs to be taken out of the environment he is currently in to have a chance to better himself.

D.S.' probation officer testified the probation department couldn't find a placement in Indiana comparable to the one in Arizona, and the places in Indiana willing to admit D.S. were inappropriate. DCS recommended placing D.S. in facilities geared toward sexual predators or serious psychiatric disabilities - neither of which D.S. had a history of.

The appellate court found the dispositional order was consistent with Indiana Code dealing with placement contrary to DCS decisions and out-of-state placement. The trial court's findings support its placement decision, so the trial court didn't commit clear error in ordering D.S. be placed in the Arizona program.

Judge Melissa May noted in a footnote at the end of the opinion that changes were made to one of the statutes implicated in this case during the 2009 Special Session. I.C. Section 31-40-1-2(f) was amended to say that DCS is not responsible for payment of any costs or expenses for housing or services provided to or for the benefit of a child placed by a juvenile court in a home or facility located outside of Indiana, if the placement is not recommended or approved by the director of the department or the director's designee. Because this change didn't become effective until July 1, 2009, it's inapplicable to the instant case. Prior to the amendment, DCS would have to pay for the out-of-state facility even if it didn't recommend it as long as the placement complied with conditions stated in I.C. Section 31-34-20-1(b) or I.C. Section 31-37-19-3(b).

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  1. 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.

  2. Any attorneys who practice in federal court should be able to say the same as I can ... efiling is great. I have been doing it in fed court since it started way back. Pacer has its drawbacks, but the ability to hit an e-docket and pull up anything and everything onscreen is a huge plus for a litigator, eps the sole practitioner, who lacks a filing clerk and the paralegal support of large firms. Were I an Indiana attorney I would welcome this great step forward.

  3. Can we get full disclosure on lobbyist's payments to legislatures such as Mr Buck? AS long as there are idiots that are disrespectful of neighbors and intent on shooting fireworks every night, some kind of regulations are needed.

  4. I am the mother of the child in this case. My silence on the matter was due to the fact that I filed, both in Illinois and Indiana, child support cases. I even filed supporting documentation with the Indiana family law court. Not sure whether this information was provided to the court of appeals or not. Wish the case was done before moving to Indiana, because no matter what, there is NO WAY the state of Illinois would have allowed an appeal on a child support case!

  5. "No one is safe when the Legislature is in session."

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