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

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

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.



Post a comment to this story

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
Subscribe to Indiana Lawyer
  1. Lori, you must really love wedding cake stories like this one ... happy enuf ending for you?

  2. This new language about a warning has not been discussed at previous meetings. It's not available online. Since it must be made public knowledge before the vote, does anyone know exactly what it says? Further, this proposal was held up for 5 weeks because members Carol and Lucy insisted that all terms used be defined. So now, definitions are unnecessary and have not been inserted? Beyond these requirements, what is the logic behind giving one free pass to discriminators? Is that how laws work - break it once and that's ok? Just don't do it again? Three members of Carmel's council have done just about everything they can think of to prohibit an anti-discrimination ordinance in Carmel, much to Brainard's consternation, I'm told. These three 'want to be so careful' that they have failed to do what at least 13 other communities, including Martinsville, have already done. It's not being careful. It's standing in the way of what 60% of Carmel residents want. It's hurting CArmel in thT businesses have refused to locate because the council has not gotten with the program. And now they want to give discriminatory one free shot to do so. Unacceptable. Once three members leave the council because they lost their races, the Carmel council will have unanimous approval of the ordinance as originally drafted, not with a one free shot to discriminate freebie. That happens in January 2016. Why give a freebie when all we have to do is wait 3 months and get an ordinance with teeth from Day 1? If nothing else, can you please get s copy from Carmel and post it so we can see what else has changed in the proposal?

  3. Here is an interesting 2012 law review article for any who wish to dive deeper into this subject matter: Excerpt: "Judicial interpretation of the ADA has extended public entity liability to licensing agencies in the licensure and certification of attorneys.49 State bar examiners have the authority to conduct fitness investigations for the purpose of determining whether an applicant is a direct threat to the public.50 A “direct threat” is defined as “a significant risk to the health or safety of others that cannot be eliminated by a modification of policies, practices or procedures, or by the provision of auxiliary aids or services as provided by § 35.139.”51 However, bar examiners may not utilize generalizations or stereotypes about the applicant’s disability in concluding that an applicant is a direct threat.52"

  4. We have been on the waiting list since 2009, i was notified almost 4 months ago that we were going to start receiving payments and we still have received nothing. Every time I call I'm told I just have to wait it's in the lawyers hands. Is everyone else still waiting?

  5. I hope you dont mind but to answer my question. What amendment does this case pretain to?