ILNews

Indiana Family courts receive more than $200,000

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

As the family court project of the Indiana Supreme Court’s Division of State Court Administration enters a new year, courts that participate in the program have learned they will continue to operate with about the same amount of funding they have had in recent years.

More than $200,000 was distributed among 13 programs serving 17 counties for 2011, according to Loretta Oleksy, Family Court Project Manager.

The other seven counties that participate in the program will also continue to operate at levels similar to recent years, but they did not submit requests for grants for 2011 because they have been able to secure other funding sources or had funds left over from last year. (See map of all counties with family court projects.)

Existing programs that received grants for 2011 include:

• Allen County’s project received $15,000 and served 141 new families in the first three quarters of 2010, the latest numbers available from the statewide Family Court Project. That program includes a facilitation program for paternity cases. The project also plans to expand its ADR program to include post-decree cases.

• A four-county program, which comprises Bartholomew, Brown, Jackson, and Lawrence counties, received $15,000 and served 325 new families in the first three quarters of 2010. This program also offers ADR and facilitates CHINS cases.

The Clark County Family Court Project received $25,000, and served 340 new families in the first three quarters of 2010. That project has proposed programming to include a Family Drug Treatment Court and CHINS mediation.

Other existing programs include a project in Henry County, which received $10,000 and served at least eight new families; a project in Lake County received $12,000, and served at least 43 new families; the LaPorte County project received $15,000, and served at least 312 new families; Marion County received $20,000 with the possibility of an additional $10,000 based on the recommendations of a report by the Association of Family and Conciliation Courts, and served at least 985 new families; Owen County’s project received $2,000 and served at least 21 new families; the St. Joseph County project received $15,000 and served at least 224 new families; Tippecanoe County’s project received $15,000 and served at least 194 new families; and Vanderburgh County’s family court project received $10,000 and served at least 66 new families. The number of new families served for each county includes those served during the first three quarters of 2010.

The three newest programs are in Madison and Parke counties, which both started in 2010. Madison County’s project received $20,000 and plans to assist up to 20 families based on who has the most need. Parke County’s project received $4,000, and is piloting the “family jacket” capability within Odyssey to coordinate a family’s multiple cases.

Jefferson County’s family court project is the latest, starting this year with a $40,000 grant. That county’s program includes a truancy prevention program.

According to a description of the program provided by Oleksy, the existing out-of-school suspension program, Court Assisted Resolution of School Suspensions, will implement a Saturday school component and provide “additional staff to supervise students who are removed from the CARSS classroom for bad behavior. In the past, these students have been sent home.”

All of the family court projects have tailored their grant requests, whether from the Division of State Court Administration, their individual counties, or other funding sources, to their specific needs. Each project has some flexibility in what it chooses to do or not do based on its needs, Oleksy said.

For instance, because Marion County’s project is among the largest in the state, that program uses a combination of one judge-one family and information sharing models. It also offers a Family Resource Center, service referral and coordination, alternative dispute resolution options for domestic relations cases, and assistance for self-represented litigants.

It is also helpful to pro se litigants in Marion County who don’t want to wait up to six months to be placed with a pro bono attorney through Heartland Pro Bono Council, which serves Indiana Pro Bono District 8, which includes Marion and surrounding counties.

family court“We hear from clients who don’t want to wait up to six months to be assigned to an attorney for family law cases,” said Heartland’s executive director, Laurie Boyd. She added that the majority of the cases she and other pro bono districts receive are family law cases, and that these projects offer another option.

The existence of the family law projects has also been helpful to the Volunteer Lawyer Program of Southwestern Indiana, in Pro Bono District 13, which includes Vanderburgh County. That program includes a Pro Se Assistance Clinic, which has a part-time social work intern who can help with case management, social service referrals, and coordination of mediation services, when applicable. That clinic also focuses on family law matters involving children, and gives special attention to families with multiple cases.

Scott Wylie, co-plan administrator for District 13, said he has noticed how the clinic has been helpful to all the legal aid providers in the area.

“Volunteer attorneys assist clients to complete a pro se form, then help pro se parties complete the forms and file them there … and that’s a solution. It allows us to focus attorney referrals to those most needing legal counsel. But just because someone is getting a divorce and doesn’t have children, it doesn’t mean they deserve counsel any less than anyone else,” he said.

He said the project has also helped because it offers access to mediation, counseling, and parenting coordination. That access has also cut the number of continuances, he said, because parties who go through that clinic have the right forms in the first place and have some guidance when they fill them out and file them.

“A pro se litigant without help can be a mess, but with basic guidance on demeanor in court and which forms to fill out, they can have a better chance of getting through the system. It’s still not as good as having an attorney,” he said, but it has helped.

Because the statewide project started in 2000, Oleksy said the judicial officers and staff have been reflecting on the last decade and recently completed a survey.

She said the results were very positive. Of the 65 people who received surveys, 34 began the surveys and 30 completed them. At least one person from each county involved in the project completed a survey.

Among the results, Oleksy and others in the Division of State Court Administration learned that the family court project has: improved responding courts’ ability to avoid conflicting and/or redundant orders for families with multiple cases (87 percent); avoided re-litigating the same issue in multiple courts (90 percent); made informed and coordinated decisions for families with multiple cases (87 percent); and avoided unnecessary delays in the judicial process (87 percent).

The survey also showed that the projects have: improved access to affordable alternative dispute resolution, assessment, and treatment for families (90 percent); improved families’ understanding of court orders and compliance with court-ordered services (83 percent); improved legal accuracy and sufficiency of self-represented litigant family law filings (83 percent); and decreased the amount of time judicial officers spend on non-judicial activities (i.e., calculating child support, reviewing pleadings, etc.) in cases involving self-represented litigants (83 percent).

“I forget sometimes how helpful these projects are,” Oleksy said, “but then I visit them and I see the work they do with individual families. They never cease to amaze me. The potential impact on pro se litigants is tremendous.”•

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
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
ADVERTISEMENT
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. I have been on this program while on parole from 2011-2013. No person should be forced mentally to share private details of their personal life with total strangers. Also giving permission for a mental therapist to report to your parole agent that your not participating in group therapy because you don't have the financial mean to be in the group therapy. I was personally singled out and sent back three times for not having money and also sent back within the six month when you aren't to be sent according to state law. I will work to het this INSOMM's removed from this state. I also had twelve or thirteen parole agents with a fifteen month period. Thanks for your time.

  2. Our nation produces very few jurists of the caliber of Justice DOUGLAS and his peers these days. Here is that great civil libertarian, who recognized government as both a blessing and, when corrupted by ideological interests, a curse: "Once the investigator has only the conscience of government as a guide, the conscience can become ‘ravenous,’ as Cromwell, bent on destroying Thomas More, said in Bolt, A Man For All Seasons (1960), p. 120. The First Amendment mirrors many episodes where men, harried and harassed by government, sought refuge in their conscience, as these lines of Thomas More show: ‘MORE: And when we stand before God, and you are sent to Paradise for doing according to your conscience, *575 and I am damned for not doing according to mine, will you come with me, for fellowship? ‘CRANMER: So those of us whose names are there are damned, Sir Thomas? ‘MORE: I don't know, Your Grace. I have no window to look into another man's conscience. I condemn no one. ‘CRANMER: Then the matter is capable of question? ‘MORE: Certainly. ‘CRANMER: But that you owe obedience to your King is not capable of question. So weigh a doubt against a certainty—and sign. ‘MORE: Some men think the Earth is round, others think it flat; it is a matter capable of question. But if it is flat, will the King's command make it round? And if it is round, will the King's command flatten it? No, I will not sign.’ Id., pp. 132—133. DOUGLAS THEN WROTE: Where government is the Big Brother,11 privacy gives way to surveillance. **909 But our commitment is otherwise. *576 By the First Amendment we have staked our security on freedom to promote a multiplicity of ideas, to associate at will with kindred spirits, and to defy governmental intrusion into these precincts" Gibson v. Florida Legislative Investigation Comm., 372 U.S. 539, 574-76, 83 S. Ct. 889, 908-09, 9 L. Ed. 2d 929 (1963) Mr. Justice DOUGLAS, concurring. I write: Happy Memorial Day to all -- God please bless our fallen who lived and died to preserve constitutional governance in our wonderful series of Republics. And God open the eyes of those government officials who denounce the constitutions of these Republics by arbitrary actions arising out capricious motives.

  3. From back in the day before secularism got a stranglehold on Hoosier jurists comes this great excerpt via Indiana federal court judge Allan Sharp, dedicated to those many Indiana government attorneys (with whom I have dealt) who count the law as a mere tool, an optional tool that is not to be used when political correctness compels a more acceptable result than merely following the path that the law directs: ALLEN SHARP, District Judge. I. In a scene following a visit by Henry VIII to the home of Sir Thomas More, playwriter Robert Bolt puts the following words into the mouths of his characters: Margaret: Father, that man's bad. MORE: There is no law against that. ROPER: There is! God's law! MORE: Then God can arrest him. ROPER: Sophistication upon sophistication! MORE: No, sheer simplicity. The law, Roper, the law. I know what's legal not what's right. And I'll stick to what's legal. ROPER: Then you set man's law above God's! MORE: No, far below; but let me draw your attention to a fact I'm not God. The currents and eddies of right and wrong, which you find such plain sailing, I can't navigate. I'm no voyager. But in the thickets of law, oh, there I'm a forester. I doubt if there's a man alive who could follow me there, thank God... ALICE: (Exasperated, pointing after Rich) While you talk, he's gone! MORE: And go he should, if he was the Devil himself, until he broke the law! ROPER: So now you'd give the Devil benefit of law! MORE: Yes. What would you do? Cut a great road through the law to get after the Devil? ROPER: I'd cut down every law in England to do that! MORE: (Roused and excited) Oh? (Advances on Roper) And when the last law was down, and the Devil turned round on you where would you hide, Roper, the laws being flat? (He leaves *1257 him) This country's planted thick with laws from coast to coast man's laws, not God's and if you cut them down and you're just the man to do it d'you really think you would stand upright in the winds that would blow then? (Quietly) Yes, I'd give the Devil benefit of law, for my own safety's sake. ROPER: I have long suspected this; this is the golden calf; the law's your god. MORE: (Wearily) Oh, Roper, you're a fool, God's my god... (Rather bitterly) But I find him rather too (Very bitterly) subtle... I don't know where he is nor what he wants. ROPER: My God wants service, to the end and unremitting; nothing else! MORE: (Dryly) Are you sure that's God! He sounds like Moloch. But indeed it may be God And whoever hunts for me, Roper, God or Devil, will find me hiding in the thickets of the law! And I'll hide my daughter with me! Not hoist her up the mainmast of your seagoing principles! They put about too nimbly! (Exit More. They all look after him). Pgs. 65-67, A MAN FOR ALL SEASONS A Play in Two Acts, Robert Bolt, Random House, New York, 1960. Linley E. Pearson, Atty. Gen. of Indiana, Indianapolis, for defendants. Childs v. Duckworth, 509 F. Supp. 1254, 1256 (N.D. Ind. 1981) aff'd, 705 F.2d 915 (7th Cir. 1983)

  4. "Meanwhile small- and mid-size firms are getting squeezed and likely will not survive unless they become a boutique firm." I've been a business attorney in small, and now mid-size firm for over 30 years, and for over 30 years legal consultants have been preaching this exact same mantra of impending doom for small and mid-sized firms -- verbatim. This claim apparently helps them gin up merger opportunities from smaller firms who become convinced that they need to become larger overnight. The claim that large corporations are interested in cost-saving and efficiency has likewise been preached for decades, and is likewise bunk. If large corporations had any real interest in saving money they wouldn't use large law firms whose rates are substantially higher than those of high-quality mid-sized firms.

  5. The family is the foundation of all human government. That is the Grand Design. Modern governments throw off this Design and make bureaucratic war against the family, as does Hollywood and cultural elitists such as third wave feminists. Since WWII we have been on a ship of fools that way, with both the elite and government and their social engineering hacks relentlessly attacking the very foundation of social order. And their success? See it in the streets of Fergusson, on the food stamp doles (mostly broken families)and in the above article. Reject the Grand Design for true social function, enter the Glorious State to manage social dysfunction. Our Brave New World will be a prison camp, and we will welcome it as the only way to manage given the anarchy without it.

ADVERTISEMENT