Indiana Department of Child Services

COA: Doctor’s report to DCS not protected by anti-SLAPP statute

July 21, 2017
Olivia Covington
A doctor who reported medical child abuse to the Department of Child Services was not protected by the state’s anti-SLAPP statute, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday in a case of first impression.
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DCS caseworker must face damages trial in illegal search suit

July 12, 2017
Dave Stafford
A federal judge ruled against a Department of Child Services case manager who illegally searched an Indianapolis veterinarian’s apartment after receiving a report of suspected child abuse or neglect. The case manager now must face a damages trial in the vet’s civil suit against her.
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DCS did not have sufficient evidence for CHINS adjudication

June 29, 2017
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Department of Child Services failed to present any evidence that a newborn’s mother did not have stable housing or that her actions seriously endangered her child, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday in reversing a child in need of services adjudication.
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State’s $25 million payout in DCS abuses case is the largest ever of its kind

June 14, 2017
Dave Stafford
The Indiana attorney general and Department of Child Services’ decision to settle a lawsuit brought by a wrongly prosecuted family yielded the largest payment of its type in state history.
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ACLU, solicitor general argue to justices over DCS caseloads

June 1, 2017
Olivia Covington
Opposing counsel and the justices of the Indiana Supreme Court were agreed on one issue during oral arguments Thursday in a case involving the Department of Child Services – family case managers are the “backbone” of the work DCS does for Hoosier children.
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Justices to hear arguments in caseload case against DCS this week

May 30, 2017
IL Staff
The Indiana Supreme Court will hear arguments this week to determine whether an employee of the Indiana Department of Child Services can bring a class-action complaint against her employer for an alleged violation of statutory caseload limits under the public standing doctrine.
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State agrees to pay family $25M to settle DCS case

May 25, 2017
Dave Stafford
Indiana will pay $25 million to conclude a northern Indiana family’s decade-long legal fight to clear their names after the Department of Child Services falsely prosecuted them for their daughter’s death.
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Summary judgment for DCS on age, sex discrimination charges affirmed

April 28, 2017
Olivia Covington
The Indiana Department of Child Services did not discriminate against a former employee seeking to come out of retirement when it declined to move him through the interview process, the Indiana Court of Appeals decided Friday.
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Divided COA reverses CHINS finding

March 30, 2017
Olivia Covington
A divided Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed a CHINS determination after finding the Department of Child Services failed to meet its burden of proof, though one judge believed the trial court was acting in the child’s best interests.
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Adjudicating on different CHINS petition allowed under Trial Rule 15(B), COA rules

March 21, 2017
Marilyn Odendahl
A troubled teenager found to be a child in need of services was properly adjudicated even though the juvenile court ruled the state did not meet its burden in proving the basis of its CHINS petition.
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Appeals court reverses CHINS finding

March 21, 2017
Dave Stafford
A trial court erred in declaring a boy in the custody of his father to be a child in need of services on account of his meth-abusing mother, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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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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  1. He TIL team,please zap this comment too since it was merely marking a scammer and not reflecting on the story. Thanks, happy Monday, keep up the fine work.

  2. You just need my social security number sent to your Gmail account to process then loan, right? Beware scammers indeed.

  3. The appellate court just said doctors can be sued for reporting child abuse. The most dangerous form of child abuse with the highest mortality rate of any form of child abuse (between 6% and 9% according to the below listed studies). Now doctors will be far less likely to report this form of dangerous child abuse in Indiana. If you want to know what this is, google the names Lacey Spears, Julie Conley (and look at what happened when uninformed judges returned that child against medical advice), Hope Ybarra, and Dixie Blanchard. Here is some really good reporting on what this allegation was: http://media.star-telegram.com/Munchausenmoms/ Here are the two research papers: http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/0145213487900810 http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0145213403000309 25% of sibling are dead in that second study. 25%!!! Unbelievable ruling. Chilling. Wrong.

  4. Mr. Levin says that the BMV engaged in misconduct--that the BMV (or, rather, someone in the BMV) knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged fees but did nothing to correct the situation. Such misconduct, whether engaged in by one individual or by a group, is called theft (defined as knowingly or intentionally exerting unauthorized control over the property of another person with the intent to deprive the other person of the property's value or use). Theft is a crime in Indiana (as it still is in most of the civilized world). One wonders, then, why there have been no criminal prosecutions of BMV officials for this theft? Government misconduct doesn't occur in a vacuum. An individual who works for or oversees a government agency is responsible for the misconduct. In this instance, somebody (or somebodies) with the BMV, at some time, knew Indiana motorists were being overcharged. What's more, this person (or these people), even after having the error of their ways pointed out to them, did nothing to fix the problem. Instead, the overcharges continued. Thus, the taxpayers of Indiana are also on the hook for the millions of dollars in attorneys fees (for both sides; the BMV didn't see fit to avail itself of the services of a lawyer employed by the state government) that had to be spent in order to finally convince the BMV that stealing money from Indiana motorists was a bad thing. Given that the BMV official(s) responsible for this crime continued their misconduct, covered it up, and never did anything until the agency reached an agreeable settlement, it seems the statute of limitations for prosecuting these folks has not yet run. I hope our Attorney General is paying attention to this fiasco and is seriously considering prosecution. Indiana, the state that works . . . for thieves.

  5. I'm glad that attorney Carl Hayes, who represented the BMV in this case, is able to say that his client "is pleased to have resolved the issue". Everyone makes mistakes, even bureaucratic behemoths like Indiana's BMV. So to some extent we need to be forgiving of such mistakes. But when those mistakes are going to cost Indiana taxpayers millions of dollars to rectify (because neither plaintiff's counsel nor Mr. Hayes gave freely of their services, and the BMV, being a state-funded agency, relies on taxpayer dollars to pay these attorneys their fees), the agency doesn't have a right to feel "pleased to have resolved the issue". One is left wondering why the BMV feels so pleased with this resolution? The magnitude of the agency's overcharges might suggest to some that, perhaps, these errors were more than mere oversight. Could this be why the agency is so "pleased" with this resolution? Will Indiana motorists ever be assured that the culture of incompetence (if not worse) that the BMV seems to have fostered is no longer the status quo? Or will even more "overcharges" and lawsuits result? It's fairly obvious who is really "pleased to have resolved the issue", and it's not Indiana's taxpayers who are on the hook for the legal fees generated in these cases.

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