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Evidence failed to support ending parental rights

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The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a trial court's ruling to involuntarily terminate a mother's parental rights to her young twins, finding the court issued deficient termination orders and lacked clear and convincing evidence to terminate the parental rights.

Charlotte Moore appealed the termination of her parental rights over the twins, C.R.M. and C.B.M., in Charlotte Moore v. Jasper County Department of Child Services, No. 37A03-0803-JV-103.

The twin toddlers were removed after the Jasper County Department of Child Services was informed by police of Moore's confrontation with her two oldest children while all three were drinking. Moore had a history of referrals to JCDCS for neglect, abuse, or lack of supervision, but not all of the referrals were substantiated.

At the time of the fact-finding hearing nearly two years after the children were removed from Moore's care, she had married, enrolled in school, regained custody of two of her other minor children, gotten a driver's license, obtained suitable housing, and re-initiated individual counseling.

JCDCS testified Moore's parental rights should be terminated; the twin's guardian ad litem opposed the termination based on the progress Moore had made since the children had been removed. The Jasper Circuit Court terminated Moore's rights to her twins.

But the trial court failed to follow Indiana statute when issuing its order, the Indiana Court of Appeals found. The orders didn't list the specific requirements that must be alleged and proved by clear and convincing evidence, wrote Judge Edward Najam. The trial court's orders appear to be a recitation of the evidence presented at the hearing; in addition, the court didn't make any conclusions based on its findings and failed to explain how its findings support the judgment, wrote the judge.

It appears the trial court based its termination order on Moore's ability to care for her children at the time the children were taken away, not at the time of the termination hearing. Moore had made significant strides in accomplishing many of the dispositional goals put in place by the JCDCS. The trial court's order wasn't supported by clear and convincing evidence and the JCDCS failed to show there is a reasonable probability the conditions leading to the twins' removal wouldn't be remedied and that continuing the mother-child relationship poses a threat to the children's well-being, wrote Judge Najam.

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  1. I can understand a 10 yr suspension for drinking and driving and not following the rules,but don't you think the people who compleate their sentences and are trying to be good people of their community,and are on the right path should be able to obtain a drivers license to do as they please.We as a state should encourage good behavior instead of saying well you did all your time but we can't give you a license come on.When is a persons time served than cause from where I'm standing,its still a punishment,when u can't have the freedom to go where ever you want to in car,truck ,motorcycle,maybe their should be better programs for people instead of just throwing them away like daily trash,then expecting them to change because they we in jail or prison for x amount of yrs.Everyone should look around because we all pay each others bills,and keep each other in business..better knowledge equals better community equals better people...just my 2 cents

  2. I was wondering about the 6 million put aside for common attorney fees?does that mean that if you are a plaintiff your attorney fees will be partially covered?

  3. I expressed my thought in the title, long as it was. I am shocked that there is ever immunity from accountability for ANY Government agency. That appears to violate every principle in the US Constitution, which exists to limit Government power and to ensure Government accountability. I don't know how many cases of legitimate child abuse exist, but in the few cases in which I knew the people involved, in every example an anonymous caller used DCS as their personal weapon to strike at innocent people over trivial disagreements that had no connection with any facts. Given that the system is vulnerable to abuse, and given the extreme harm any action by DCS causes to families, I would assume any degree of failure to comply with the smallest infraction of personal rights would result in mandatory review. Even one day of parent-child separation in the absence of reasonable cause for a felony arrest should result in severe penalties to those involved in the action. It appears to me, that like all bureaucracies, DCS is prone to interpret every case as legitimate. This is not an accusation against DCS. It is a statement about the nature of bureaucracies, and the need for ADDED scrutiny of all bureaucratic actions. Frankly, I question the constitutionality of bureaucracies in general, because their power is delegated, and therefore unaccountable. No Government action can be unaccountable if we want to avoid its eventual degeneration into irrelevance and lawlessness, and the law of the jungle. Our Constitution is the source of all Government power, and it is the contract that legitimizes all Government power. To the extent that its various protections against intrusion are set aside, so is the power afforded by that contract. Eventually overstepping the limits of power eliminates that power, as a law of nature. Even total tyranny eventually crumbles to nothing.

  4. Being dedicated to a genre keeps it alive until the masses catch up to the "trend." Kent and Bill are keepin' it LIVE!! Thank you gentlemen..you know your JAZZ.

  5. Hemp has very little THC which is needed to kill cancer cells! Growing cannabis plants for THC inside a hemp field will not work...where is the fear? From not really knowing about Cannabis and Hemp or just not listening to the people teaching you through testimonies and packets of info over the last few years! Wake up Hoosier law makers!

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