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Justices uphold termination of mother’s parental rights after years of drug abuse

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The Indiana Supreme Court Wednesday set aside the Court of Appeals order dismissing a Dearborn County mother’s appeal of the termination of her parental rights and took the case. The justices affirmed the decision to end her parental rights to her three children.

The Department of Child Services removed K.T.K., K.C. and K.R.K from mother R.C.’s home and placed them in foster care due to her serious substance abuse issues, which rendered her incapable of providing the necessary care and supervision that the children required. She admitted to having snorted hydrocodone and Xanax at that time, which contributed to the children’s removal, and that she has a serious substance abuse problem. The children’s father was incarcerated during the time at issue in this case.  

The children were at first placed with their paternal grandmother, then bounced around to various placements until ending up with foster parents. The DCS sought to terminate R.C.’s parental rights in 2011 after R.C. was released from her second term in prison and the children had been in DCS’ care for 13 months.

The record reflected her long history of substance abuse problems as well as her history of criminal behavior, which includes incarceration. The trial court found that her substance abuse problem is so severe that she will always be at risk for a relapse, and this finding is supported by the record, the justices ruled. Mother didn’t show up for recommended services to treat her drug problem or for parenting classes. Shortly after being released from incarceration in 2010, she began drinking again, which led to her second incarceration that year.

“It is of no small consequence that evidence presented during the hearing reveals that Mother had not used illegal drugs in approximately 17 months and she had not consumed alcohol in approximately 11 months, resulting in roughly 40 negative drug screens during that time,” Justice Robert Rucker wrote. “We are mindful, however, that the trial court was within its discretion to consider that the first eleven months of her sobriety were spent in prison where she would have not had access to any illegal substances, nor be subjected to the type of stressors — namely the responsibility of maintaining a household and raising three young and active children — that would normally trigger a desire to pursue an escape from the pressures of everyday life that drugs often provide.”

The record also showed that mother had a habitual pattern of exposing her children to her criminal behavior, which detrimentally impacted their psychological, emotional and physical development. In fact, 10-year-old K.T.K. begged the trial court to allow him and his siblings to remain with their foster parents. Termination of the mother’s parental rights was in the best interest of the children, the justices concluded in Term. of the Parent-Child Rel. of: K.T.K., K.C., and K.R.K. (Minor Children), and R.C. (Mother) v. Indiana Dept. of Child Services, Dearborn County Office, 15S01-1306-JT-402.

In a separate order, the Supreme Court denied the children’s father’s petition to transfer. His parental rights were also terminated, which was upheld by the COA last year.

 

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  1. The child support award is many times what the custodial parent earns, and exceeds the actual costs of providing for the children's needs. My fiance and I have agreed that if we divorce, that the children will be provided for using a shared checking account like this one(http://www.mediate.com/articles/if_they_can_do_parenting_plans.cfm) to avoid the hidden alimony in Indiana's child support guidelines.

  2. Fiat justitia ruat caelum is a Latin legal phrase, meaning "Let justice be done though the heavens fall." The maxim signifies the belief that justice must be realized regardless of consequences.

  3. Indiana up holds this behavior. the state police know they got it made.

  4. Additional Points: -Civility in the profession: Treating others with respect will not only move others to respect you, it will show a shared respect for the legal system we are all sworn to protect. When attorneys engage in unnecessary personal attacks, they lose the respect and favor of judges, jurors, the person being attacked, and others witnessing or reading the communication. It's not always easy to put anger aside, but if you don't, you will lose respect, credibility, cases, clients & jobs or job opportunities. -Read Rule 22 of the Admission & Discipline Rules. Capture that spirit and apply those principles in your daily work. -Strive to represent clients in a manner that communicates the importance you place on the legal matter you're privileged to handle for them. -There are good lawyers of all ages, but no one is perfect. Older lawyers can learn valuable skills from younger lawyers who tend to be more adept with new technologies that can improve work quality and speed. Older lawyers have already tackled more legal issues and worked through more of the problems encountered when representing clients on various types of legal matters. If there's mutual respect and a willingness to learn from each other, it will help make both attorneys better lawyers. -Erosion of the public trust in lawyers wears down public confidence in the rule of law. Always keep your duty to the profession in mind. -You can learn so much by asking questions & actively listening to instructions and advice from more experienced attorneys, regardless of how many years or decades you've each practiced law. Don't miss out on that chance.

  5. Agreed on 4th Amendment call - that was just bad policing that resulted in dismissal for repeat offender. What kind of parent names their boy "Kriston"?

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