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Judges affirm finding teen is a CHINS

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The Indiana Court of Appeals upheld the finding that a 17-year-old is a child in need of services, ruling that evidence of her drug test wasn't irrelevant and was properly admitted by the trial court.

Teenager S.W. argued the trial court erred by admitting evidence of her marijuana use and that the Miami County Department of Child Services didn't present sufficient evidence to prove she is a CHINS.

A police officer saw S.W. and her friend A.C. walking along a rural road 12 miles from S.W.'s home around 11 p.m. A.C.'s mother called police to report she had run away. The officer called S.W.'s parents but her father told the officer they weren't coming to get her and that the officer should deal with the situation.

S.W. spoke with a family case manager, who also couldn't get her parents to pick up the phone. S.W. admitted to previous drug use and abuse in the home and was placed in a temporary shelter. The trial court admitted evidence of S.W.'s positive drug test for marijuana over her objection at the fact-finding hearing and authorized the filing of a CHINS petition. The trial court eventually determined S.W. is a CHINS.

The appellate court upheld that finding in In the matter of S.W., a child in need of services v. Indiana Department of Child Services, No. 52A05-0910-JV-1005. S.W. argued she was illegally detained when the drug test was administered so it shouldn't have been admitted, but S.W. was never illegally detained. The police officer attempted to have her parents pick her up but they refused. The officer then called DCS and took S.W. to the police station to ensure her safety, wrote Judge Patricia Riley. At the time of the drug test, DCS had probable cause to believe S.W. was a CHINS due to lack of supervision by her parents and received an order for temporary custody.

The Court of Appeals also rejected S.W.'s argument that the evidence of the drug use is irrelevant.

"Although an adequately supervised teenager may find ways in which to experiment with illicit drugs, a child's drug use can be a direct product of a lack of parental supervision," which would be relevant to the CHINS proceedings, wrote Judge Riley.

The judges also found S.W. was provided notice that her drug use could be an issue. S.W. told the case manager that domestic violence, drug use and abuse continued to happen in her home following DCS' previous involvement with the family one year earlier, so that put her and her family on notice that drug use by anyone in the home could be an issue in the CHINS proceeding, wrote Judge Riley.

Her parents refused to pick S.W. up, didn't answer repeated phone calls, and didn't inquire about her whereabouts when she didn't return home that night. Based on her parents actions, and S.W.'s statement about the previous drug abuse and violence in the home, DCS presented sufficient evidence to prove by a preponderance of the evidence that S.W.'s physical or mental condition was seriously endangered by her parents' refusal or neglect to provide necessary supervision, wrote the judge.

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  1. Im very happy for you, getting ready to go down that dirt road myself, and im praying for the same outcome, because it IS sometimes in the childs best interest to have visitation with grandparents. Thanks for sharing, needed to hear some positive posts for once.

  2. Been there 4 months with 1 paycheck what can i do

  3. our hoa has not communicated any thing that takes place in their "executive meetings" not executive session. They make decisions in these meetings, do not have an agenda, do not notify association memebers and do not keep general meetings minutes. They do not communicate info of any kind to the member, except annual meeting, nobody attends or votes because they think the board is self serving. They keep a deposit fee from club house rental for inspection after someone uses it, there is no inspection I know becausee I rented it, they did not disclose to members that board memebers would be keeping this money, I know it is only 10 dollars but still it is not their money, they hire from within the board for paid positions, no advertising and no request for bids from anyone else, I atteended last annual meeting, went into executive session to elect officers in that session the president brought up the motion to give the secretary a raise of course they all agreed they hired her in, then the minutes stated that a diffeerent board member motioned to give this raise. This board is very clickish and has done things anyway they pleased for over 5 years, what recourse to members have to make changes in the boards conduct

  4. Where may I find an attorney working Pro Bono? Many issues with divorce, my Disability, distribution of IRA's, property, money's and pressured into agreement by my attorney. Leaving me far less than 5% of all after 15 years of marriage. No money to appeal, disabled living on disability income. Attorney's decision brought forward to judge, no evidence ever to finalize divorce. Just 2 weeks ago. Please help.

  5. For the record no one could answer the equal protection / substantive due process challenge I issued in the first post below. The lawless and accountable only to power bureaucrats never did either. All who interface with the Indiana law examiners or JLAP be warned.

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