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. If a class action suit or other manner of retribution is possible, count me in. I have email and voicemail from the man. He colluded with opposing counsel, I am certain. My case was damaged so severely it nearly lost me everything and I am still paying dearly.

  2. There's probably a lot of blame that can be cast around for Indiana Tech's abysmal bar passage rate this last February. The folks who decided that Indiana, a state with roughly 16,000 to 18,000 attorneys, needs a fifth law school need to question the motives that drove their support of this project. Others, who have been "strong supporters" of the law school, should likewise ask themselves why they believe this institution should be supported. Is it because it fills some real need in the state? Or is it, instead, nothing more than a resume builder for those who teach there part-time? And others who make excuses for the students' poor performance, especially those who offer nothing more than conspiracy theories to back up their claims--who are they helping? What evidence do they have to support their posturing? Ultimately, though, like most everything in life, whether one succeeds or fails is entirely within one's own hands. At least one student from Indiana Tech proved this when he/she took and passed the February bar. A second Indiana Tech student proved this when they took the bar in another state and passed. As for the remaining 9 who took the bar and didn't pass (apparently, one of the students successfully appealed his/her original score), it's now up to them (and nobody else) to ensure that they pass on their second attempt. These folks should feel no shame; many currently successful practicing attorneys failed the bar exam on their first try. These same attorneys picked themselves up, dusted themselves off, and got back to the rigorous study needed to ensure they would pass on their second go 'round. This is what the Indiana Tech students who didn't pass the first time need to do. Of course, none of this answers such questions as whether Indiana Tech should be accredited by the ABA, whether the school should keep its doors open, or, most importantly, whether it should have even opened its doors in the first place. Those who promoted the idea of a fifth law school in Indiana need to do a lot of soul-searching regarding their decisions. These same people should never be allowed, again, to have a say about the future of legal education in this state or anywhere else. Indiana already has four law schools. That's probably one more than it really needs. But it's more than enough.

  3. This man Steve Hubbard goes on any online post or forum he can find and tries to push his company. He said court reporters would be obsolete a few years ago, yet here we are. How does he have time to search out every single post about court reporters and even spy in private court reporting forums if his company is so successful???? Dude, get a life. And back to what this post was about, I agree that some national firms cause a huge problem.

  4. rensselaer imdiana is doing same thing to children from the judge to attorney and dfs staff they need to be investigated as well

  5. Sex offenders are victims twice, once when they are molested as kids, and again when they repeat the behavior, you never see money spent on helping them do you. That's why this circle continues