Indiana Department of Child Services

COA reverses termination of parental rights, finds DCS exhibited ‘troubling behavior’

December 21, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Court of Appeals reversed Wednesday a decision terminating a mother and father’s parental relationships with their son, writing that the Department of Child Services had exhibited an “extraordinarily troubling pattern of behavior.”
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Gov-elect Holcomb keeping Bonaventura in child services post, names general counsel

December 15, 2016
 Associated Press, IL Staff
Indiana Republican Gov.-elect Eric Holcomb has reappointed Mary Beth Bonaventura as director of the Indiana Department of Child Services and selected his general counsel.
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Justices deny transfer of CHINS ADA case with 3-2 vote

December 5, 2016
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Supreme Court has denied transfer of a case in which a father argued that the Department of Child Services’ failure to comply with the American with Disabilities Act when providing discretionary services should void the termination of his parental rights. However, two justices dissented from that decision, writing that DCS should always be required to comply with the ADA.
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Indiana Supreme Court grants transfer in parental rights case

December 5, 2016
Olivia Covington
Indiana’s highest court has agreed to hear a case regarding the termination of two parents’ rights to their children, with the father arguing that his rights should be restored because the Indiana Department of Child Services failed to file the termination petition within the required legal time frame.
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Mother’s suit alleging DCS caseworker abuses proceeds

December 1, 2016
Dave Stafford
An Indiana Department of Child Services case manager who allegedly pursued meritless child-abuse allegations against an Indianapolis mother must face a federal civil lawsuit, though her DCS supervisors will not, a judge has ruled.
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Justices weigh whether child abuse reporter can sue DCS for breach of confidentiality

November 16, 2016
Dave Stafford
A southern Indiana church van driver who suspected children to be in need of services due to dangerous living conditions in his small community followed the law requiring him to report his suspicions. He didn’t want to provide his name, but he did so after a Department of Child Services hotline worker assured him his identity would remain confidential, as the law also requires.
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Park Tudor gets prosecution deferral after Cox case

November 15, 2016
Dave Stafford
Park Tudor School will not face further penalties arising from its handling of an investigation of former basketball coach Kyle Cox, who was convicted and sentenced to 14 years in prison for trying to entice a 15-year-old student to have sex with him.
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DCS insists no right to sue over disclosed identity

November 8, 2016
Dave Stafford
A state attorney argued before the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday that the Department of Child Services cannot be sued by a man who reported suspected child abuse but whose promise of confidentiality was violated when his identity was disclosed to those he reported.
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DCS insists no right to sue over disclosed identity

November 3, 2016
Dave Stafford
A state attorney argued before the Indiana Supreme Court Thursday that the Department of Child Services cannot be sued by a man who reported suspected child abuse but whose promise of confidentiality was violated when his identity was disclosed to those he reported.
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State appealing $31M judgment against DCS workers

November 1, 2016
IL Staff
The state of Indiana is asking the 7th Circuit Court of Appeals to review the $31 million jury verdict awarded to a Pulaski County family after they sued Department of Child Services workers and others for the wrongful removal of their children and prosecution of the parents.
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Appeals court rules that DCS employee can proceed with caseload claims

October 25, 2016
Olivia Covington
An employee of the Department of Child Services can continue in her complaint that alleges violations of the state-mandated caseload maximums despite a ruling that the employee has no private right of action under Indiana Code.
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Legislative group delays action on ALJ panels to retain subject-matter expertise

October 19, 2016
Dave Stafford
Perceived bias of administrative law judges in favor of the state agencies for which they adjudicate disputes has led to calls for Indiana to join 30 other states that have moved to central panels of ALJs to give them more independence. But that won’t happen anytime soon, a General Assembly study committee decided.
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Judge: State must reply to lawyers seeking fees of $2.8M in DCS case

October 7, 2016
Dave Stafford
A judge has ordered the state to reply to the petition of four lawyers for fees of $2.8 million for winning a $31 million judgment for a northern Indiana family victimized by the state Department of Child Services.
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Judge denies state bid to reduce $31 million award against DCS

September 30, 2016
Dave Stafford
A federal judge Friday rejected the state of Indiana’s motion to reduce a jury’s $31 million award last year against Department of Child Services workers and a state police officer for the wrongful removal of a couple’s children and prosecution of their parents.
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On rehearing, appeals court reins in DCS on CHINS custody change

September 8, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Department of Child Services lost on rehearing its argument that a custody modification ordered in a child in need of services case survives the CHINS proceeding.
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Justices take case on DCS caller confidentiality

September 6, 2016
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will decide whether the Indiana Department of Child Services may be sued for failing to maintain the confidentiality of a caller who reported suspected child neglect.
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Caseworker vs. DCS

July 27, 2016
Dave Stafford
Despite a caseworker’s lawsuit against the Indiana Department of Child Services, her employer says she’s right: There aren’t enough caseworkers to handle the exploding growth in cases of Indiana children and families in crisis. But that’s where the agreement ends.
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Safe Families effort wins favor in Legislature

July 27, 2016
Marilyn Odendahl
A new law furthers the group’s power of attorney arrangement in order to keep kids out of the child welfare system.
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DCS agrees more caseworkers needed, argues against suit

July 20, 2016
Indiana’s Legislature and governor have failed to provide resources to ensure sufficient case managers to protect children and families, a lawyer representing the Department of Child Services told the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday. But she argued a caseworker’s lawsuit against the agency was the wrong way to enforce state law requiring those workers have no more than 17 cases each.
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Indiana abuse, neglect deaths up 25 percent in 2014 to 66

July 15, 2016
 Associated Press
The Indiana Department of Child Services says the number of Indiana children who died from abuse or neglect during the 2014 state fiscal year rose by more than 25 percent over the previous year.
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Baby box founder undeterred by warning, plans defense fund

June 16, 2016
 Associated Press
The founder of an organization that has installed boxes where mothers can leave unwanted infants is undeterred by a warning from Indiana that they are illegal and intends to make sure more mothers have protected access to them.
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Indiana wants group to stop using baby boxes

June 10, 2016
 Associated Press
Indiana child welfare officials have warned an organization that installed two baby boxes at firehouses where mothers can drop off unwanted newborns anonymously to remove them, saying they question their safety and whether women who use them could face child abandonment charges.
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Judges say order for DCS interviews with children should not have happened

May 12, 2016
Scott Roberts
The Indiana Department of Child Services for Crawford County should not have been granted the opportunity to interview two children, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled, because the order doing so violates their mother’s right to raise her family without undue interference by the state.
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7th Circuit: State immune from FLSA suit

April 6, 2016
Scott Roberts
The 7th Circuit affirmed that Indiana was immune from a Federal Labor Standards Act lawsuit brought by two Department of Child Services Employees. The court said the state did not give consent for the suit, and thus had 11th Amendment immunity under the U.S. Constitution.
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Lawsuit: DCS illegally slashes subsidies if special-needs kids adopted

October 30, 2015
Dave Stafford
A lawsuit filed Thursday claims the Indiana Department of Child Services violated federal law when it proposed to slash assistance for three profoundly disabled children after their grandparents who served as foster parents planned to adopt them.
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  1. Hi there I really need help with getting my old divorce case back into court - I am still paying support on a 24 year old who has not been in school since age 16 - now living independent. My visitation with my 14 year old has never been modified; however, when convenient for her I can have him... I am paying past balance from over due support, yet earn several thousand dollars less. I would contact my original attorney but he basically molest me multiple times in Indy when I would visit.. Todd Woodmansee - I had just came out and had know idea what to do... I have heard he no longer practices. Please help1

  2. Yes diversity is so very important. With justice Rucker off ... the court is too white. Still too male. No Hispanic justice. No LGBT justice. And there are other checkboxes missing as well. This will not do. I say hold the seat until a physically handicapped Black Lesbian of Hispanic heritage and eastern religious creed with bipolar issues can be located. Perhaps an international search, with a preference for third world candidates, is indicated. A non English speaker would surely increase our diversity quotient!!!

  3. First, I want to thank Justice Rucker for his many years of public service, not just at the appellate court level for over 25 years, but also when he served the people of Lake County as a Deputy Prosecutor, City Attorney for Gary, IN, and in private practice in a smaller, highly diverse community with a history of serious economic challenges, ethnic tensions, and recently publicized but apparently long-standing environmental health risks to some of its poorest residents. Congratulations for having the dedication & courage to practice law in areas many in our state might have considered too dangerous or too poor at different points in time. It was also courageous to step into a prominent and highly visible position of public service & respect in the early 1990's, remaining in a position that left you open to state-wide public scrutiny (without any glitches) for over 25 years. Yes, Hoosiers of all backgrounds can take pride in your many years of public service. But people of color who watched your ascent to the highest levels of state government no doubt felt even more as you transcended some real & perhaps some perceived social, economic, academic and professional barriers. You were living proof that, with hard work, dedication & a spirit of public service, a person who shared their same skin tone or came from the same county they grew up in could achieve great success. At the same time, perhaps unknowingly, you helped fellow members of the judiciary, court staff, litigants and the public better understand that differences that are only skin-deep neither define nor limit a person's character, abilities or prospects in life. You also helped others appreciate that people of different races & backgrounds can live and work together peacefully & productively for the greater good of all. Those are truths that didn't have to be written down in court opinions. Anyone paying attention could see that truth lived out every day you devoted to public service. I believe you have been a "trailblazer" in Indiana's legal community and its judiciary. I also embrace your belief that society's needs can be better served when people in positions of governmental power reflect the many complexions of the population that they serve. Whether through greater understanding across the existing racial spectrum or through the removal of some real and some perceived color-based, hope-crushing barriers to life opportunities & success, movement toward a more reflective representation of the population being governed will lead to greater and uninterrupted respect for laws designed to protect all peoples' rights to life, liberty & the pursuit of happiness. Thanks again for a job well-done & for the inevitable positive impact your service has had - and will continue to have - on countless Hoosiers of all backgrounds & colors.

  4. Diversity is important, but with some limitations. For instance, diversity of experience is a great thing that can be very helpful in certain jobs or roles. Diversity of skin color is never important, ever, under any circumstance. To think that skin color changes one single thing about a person is patently racist and offensive. Likewise, diversity of values is useless. Some values are better than others. In the case of a supreme court justice, I actually think diversity is unimportant. The justices are not to impose their own beliefs on rulings, but need to apply the law to the facts in an objective manner.

  5. Have been seeing this wonderful physician for a few years and was one of his patients who told him about what we were being told at CVS. Multiple ones. This was a witch hunt and they shold be ashamed of how patients were treated. Most of all, CVS should be ashamed for what they put this physician through. So thankful he fought back. His office is no "pill mill'. He does drug testing multiple times a year and sees patients a minimum of four times a year.

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