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Justices: Facts don’t justify subjecting family to CHINS proceeding

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The Indiana Supreme Court reversed the finding that a child with special needs is a child in need of services after ruling that the circumstances of this case don’t support that the mother needed the court’s coercive intervention to address concerns in the CHINS petition.

Mother J.B. has five children, including S.D., who at 2 years old required hospitalization in Indianapolis for cardiomyopathy. She was placed on a ventilator, and given a tracheostomy and gastrostomy. As a result of her hospitalization, J.B. moved her other children from Gary to Indianapolis.

The Department of Child Services initiated CHINS proceedings regarding all of the children because J.B. failed to enroll them in school and had become disengaged from S.D.’s care plan. She allowed the state to remove the four siblings from her care to focus on S.D.’s treatment.

But J.B. found stable housing and the four children were returned to her care. The petition regarding S.D. continued because, although S.D. was ready to come home, J.B. had not met the training requirements regarding care of S.D. for her to be released. The hospital would not discharge S.D. until mother and a second caregiver completed significant medical training. S.D.’s grandmother initially was going to be the second caregiver, but DCS did not approve her based on a background check. The next person chosen as the second caregiver was unable to complete a 24-hour practice session at the hospital because of her work schedule.

“Mother’s most significant failure—to complete the home-care simulation—appears as much a product of DCS’s intervention as it is a sign of her need for that intervention,” Justice Loretta Rush wrote in In the Matter of S.D., Alleged to be a Child in Need of Services, J.B. v. Indiana Department of Child Services, 49S05-1309-JC-585, pointing out that DCS’ disapproval of the grandmother required the mother to “go back to the drawing board” to recruit someone else.

“S.D. and her siblings were legitimately in need of services when DCS filed its petitions. But by the fact-finding hearing, Mother had voluntarily addressed all but one of those concerns to the trial court’s satisfaction. In view of that judgment, the remaining evidence fails to show that Mother was likely to need the court’s coercive intervention to complete that final item — and when that coercion is not necessary, the State may not intrude into a family’s life. We therefore reverse the trial court’s judgment that S.D. was a child in need of services.”

 

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  • God Bless This Justice
    Mother’s most significant failure—to complete the home-care simulation—appears as much a product of DCS’s intervention as it is a sign of her need for that intervention,” Justice Loretta Rush WOW! That should send a shock wave through the statist hallways. Big Sister cannot simply step in and grab the kiddies, making up the reasons as they go along and causing families to stumble. Thank you Justice Rush.

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  1. KUDOS to the Indiana Supreme Court for realizing that some bureacracies need to go to the stake. Recall what RWR said: "No government ever voluntarily reduces itself in size. Government programs, once launched, never disappear. Actually, a government bureau is the nearest thing to eternal life we'll ever see on this earth!" NOW ... what next to this rare and inspiring chopping block? Well, the Commission on Gender and Race (but not religion!?!) is way overdue. And some other Board's could be cut with a positive for State and the reputation of the Indiana judiciary.

  2. During a visit where an informant with police wears audio and video, does the video necessary have to show hand to hand transaction of money and narcotics?

  3. I will agree with that as soon as law schools stop lying to prospective students about salaries and employment opportunities in the legal profession. There is no defense to the fraudulent numbers first year salaries they post to mislead people into going to law school.

  4. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  5. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

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