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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. So that none are misinformed by my posting wihtout a non de plume here, please allow me to state that I am NOT an Indiana licensed attorney, although I am an Indiana resident approved to practice law and represent clients in Indiana's fed court of Nth Dist and before the 7th circuit. I remain licensed in KS, since 1996, no discipline. This must be clarified since the IN court records will reveal that I did sit for and pass the Indiana bar last February. Yet be not confused by the fact that I was so allowed to be tested .... I am not, to be clear in the service of my duty to be absolutely candid about this, I AM NOT a member of the Indiana bar, and might never be so licensed given my unrepented from errors of thought documented in this opinion, at fn2, which likely supports Mr Smith's initial post in this thread: http://caselaw.findlaw.com/us-7th-circuit/1592921.html

  2. When I served the State of Kansas as Deputy AG over Consumer Protection & Antitrust for four years, supervising 20 special agents and assistant attorneys general (back before the IBLE denied me the right to practice law in Indiana for not having the right stuff and pretty much crushed my legal career) we had a saying around the office: Resist the lure of the ring!!! It was a take off on Tolkiem, the idea that absolute power (I signed investigative subpoenas as a judge would in many other contexts, no need to show probable cause)could corrupt absolutely. We feared that we would overreach constitutional limits if not reminded, over and over, to be mindful to not do so. Our approach in so challenging one another was Madisonian, as the following quotes from the Father of our Constitution reveal: The essence of Government is power; and power, lodged as it must be in human hands, will ever be liable to abuse. We are right to take alarm at the first experiment upon our liberties. I believe there are more instances of the abridgement of freedom of the people by gradual and silent encroachments by those in power than by violent and sudden usurpations. Liberty may be endangered by the abuse of liberty, but also by the abuse of power. All men having power ought to be mistrusted. -- James Madison, Federalist Papers and other sources: http://www.constitution.org/jm/jm_quotes.htm RESIST THE LURE OF THE RING ALL YE WITH POLITICAL OR JUDICIAL POWER!

  3. My dear Mr Smith, I respect your opinions and much enjoy your posts here. We do differ on our view of the benefits and viability of the American Experiment in Ordered Liberty. While I do agree that it could be better, and that your points in criticism are well taken, Utopia does indeed mean nowhere. I think Madison, Jefferson, Adams and company got it about as good as it gets in a fallen post-Enlightenment social order. That said, a constitution only protects the citizens if it is followed. We currently have a bevy of public officials and judicial agents who believe that their subjectivism, their personal ideology, their elitist fears and concerns and cause celebs trump the constitutions of our forefathers. This is most troubling. More to follow in the next post on that subject.

  4. Yep I am not Bryan Brown. Bryan you appear to be a bigger believer in the Constitution than I am. Were I still a big believer then I might be using my real name like you. Personally, I am no longer a fan of secularism. I favor the confessional state. In religious mattes, it seems to me that social diversity is chaos and conflict, while uniformity is order and peace.... secularism has been imposed by America on other nations now by force and that has not exactly worked out very well.... I think the American historical experiment with disestablishmentarianism is withering on the vine before our eyes..... Since I do not know if that is OK for an officially licensed lawyer to say, I keep the nom de plume.

  5. I am compelled to announce that I am not posting under any Smith monikers here. That said, the post below does have a certain ring to it that sounds familiar to me: http://www.catholicnewworld.com/cnwonline/2014/0907/cardinal.aspx

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