DCS launching pilot to address children with mental health issues

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

The Department of Child Services announced Monday that it will fund a two-month pilot program that will utilize local services to provide help for juveniles with mental health issues.

DCS Chief of Staff John Ryan discussed the pilot program at a meeting held by the Indiana Commission on Mental Health and Addiction. The commission discussed whether prosecuting attorneys should be allowed to file a petition alleging a child is a Child in Need of Services under Indiana Code 31-34-1-6 as well as the unmet mental health needs of children within the juvenile justice system.

Legislators created an interim study committee earlier this year to study these issues.

"This is a small, but important and complex population that presents a big struggle for many families," Ryan said. "For decades the only way these children have been able to get care is by entering the court system as a juvenile delinquent, or to have their parents claim neglect so the child can become a ward of the state. And everyone agrees – from state agencies, to prosecutors, to judges, to probation officers, to mental-health experts, to families – that is not the way to help these kids."

He said some kids with mental health issues fall into a “gray area” because, by law, DCS is only responsible for protecting children in situations of abuse and neglect by a parent, guardian or custodian.

A statutory change in 2008 took away prosecutors’ ability to file “CHINS 6” petitions, giving it solely to DCS. These petitions allege that a juvenile is a danger to himself or herself or to another person.

The pilot will launch in Lawrenceburg in the next two months. Schools, judges, probation officers, families, and others will be able to contact designated mental health access sites in their local area to refer a child in need of intensive services. Those sites will assess the child’s level of need and coordinate care, according to DCS.

The state agency initially will pay for the children who are not covered by private insurance or who are not Medicaid eligible, but it is asking legislators for around $20 million a year to cover the program across the state. DCS will cover the pilot and statewide implementation, which it says will cost around $11 million for the 2013 fiscal year.

The pilot program was developed through collaborations among DCS, Family and Social Services Administration, Indiana Council of Community Mental Health Centers Inc., juvenile court professionals and county prosecutors.



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. We do not have 10% of our population (which would mean about 32 million) incarcerated. It's closer to 2%.

  2. 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.

  3. 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.

  4. 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.

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