ILNews

Justices accept parental-rights termination case

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The Indiana Supreme Court has taken a Marion County case involving the termination of a mother’s parental rights in which the Indiana Court of Appeals took issue with several details in the case.

The appellate judges affirmed the termination of mother Z.G.’s rights to her daughter C.G. in Term. Of Parent-Child Rel. of C.G.; Z.G. v. I.D.C.S., No. 49S04-1101-JT-46, ruling her due process rights weren’t significantly comprised by her telephonic participation because she was represented by counsel, she testified at the hearing, and was able to authenticate exhibits her counsel sent her. But they noted several concerns, including that one Department of Child Services case manager’s affidavit of diligent inquiry filed when DCS sought to serve notice upon Z.G. by publication contained an inaccuracy. The case manager didn’t contact any family acquaintances as stated in the affidavit.

The DCS case manager also didn’t tell the mother that a child in need of services case was pending in his response letter to the mother, who wrote to the case manager in November 2008. She didn’t learn of the proceeding until she got an advisement or rights form and copy of the CHINS petition in a February 2009 letter.

The Court of Appeals judges were also troubled by the Marion Superior Court’s policy that juvenile prisoners cannot be within sight or hearing of adult prisoners, and the Juvenile Division lacks the facilities to separately house adult and juvenile offenders at the Juvenile Center. Z.G. had asked to appear in person at the termination and child in need of services proceedings in Marion Juvenile Court, but she was denied and she appeared by telephone.

The justices denied transfer to 12 other cases for the week ending Jan. 28.

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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

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  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.

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