Indiana Department of Child Services

Defense rests in Bales trial after flurry of witnesses

February 6, 2013
Cory Schouten
Closing arguments are expected to begin Wednesday afternoon in the federal fraud trial of Indianapolis real estate broker John M. Bales and partner William E. Spencer after the defense raced through seven witnesses Tuesday and early Wednesday.
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Defense attorneys turn tough in Bales trial

February 1, 2013
Cory Schouten
The legal team representing real estate broker John M. Bales and partner William E. Spencer haven't called their first witness and already they're putting up a spirited fight as federal prosecutors seek to prove charges including bank, mail and wire fraud.
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Former Venture employee turns on Bales during testimony

January 31, 2013
Cory Schouten
An FBI investigation into Venture Real Estate Services and principals John Bales and Bill Spencer had already begun when Matthew Dyer signed on as the company's controller in December 2009.
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Governor appoints Bonaventura as DCS head

January 31, 2013
IL Staff
Gov. Mike Pence named Lake Superior Juvenile Senior Judge Mary Beth Bonaventura as director of the Department of Child Services Wednesday.
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COA reverses former principal’s conviction for failing to immediately report student’s alleged rape

January 30, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A split Indiana Court of Appeals decided Wednesday that former Muncie Central High School principal Christopher Smith’s Class B misdemeanor conviction for failure to immediately report child abuse or neglect should be tossed out.
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Defense attorneys in Bales case trash former co-defendant

January 30, 2013
Cory Schouten
Indianapolis attorney and developer Paul J. Page is no longer a co-defendant in the fraud trial of real estate broker John M. Bales and a partner after agreeing to a plea deal, but you wouldn't know it from the action Tuesday in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Indiana.
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Senate panel advances DCS oversight measure

January 30, 2013
Dave Stafford
A proposed commission that grew from a study committee examining problems at the Department of Child Services cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.
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COA: rehearing petition another example of how DCS ‘dropped the ball’ in case

January 23, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals granted the rehearing petitions of the Department of Child Services and a family who had a child removed from their care and re-examined the family’s federal civil rights claims and claims under the Indiana Tort Claims Act. The judges also chided DCS’ counsel for submitting a new document in the petition for rehearing that was not part of the record on appeal.
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Senate judiciary committee to look at abuse, DNA bills

January 22, 2013
IL Staff
The Senate Judiciary Committee meets at 9 a.m. Wednesday and has five bills on its agenda, including legislation that redefines child fatality committees in each county.
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Justices take 5 cases

January 15, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court will weigh whether a student who resisted being handcuffed by a school resource officer merits adjudication as a delinquent for the equivalent of Class D felony resisting law enforcement.
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Strategic planning needed to improve child services

December 5, 2012
Dave Stafford
Justice Loretta Rush says a unified commission on children can bring stakeholders together and improve outcomes.
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Appeals court reverses adoption; birth mother denied due process

November 30, 2012
Dave Stafford
A Jasper County mother was denied due process when her children were allowed to be adopted while the birth mother’s appeal of her termination of parental rights was pending, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Friday.
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DCS settles final issue stemming from 2009 suit over rate cuts

November 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Department of Child Services announced Tuesday that is has reached a legal settlement with IARCCA, an Association of Children & Family Services, over rates paid to cover additional staffing costs and cost-of-living expenses to residential facilities and foster care agencies that serve abused and neglected children.
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DCS study committee to hold last meeting Tuesday

November 26, 2012
IL Staff
The Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee will meet for the last time Tuesday in the Indiana Government Center to consider bill drafts, a final report and “other business,” according to the committee agenda.
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Budget session will not prevent state senators from working to improve DCS

November 20, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Department of Child Services will be part of the legislative agenda during the Indiana General Assembly’s 2013 session. 
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Centralized hotline and hiring more workers among issues on DCS study committee agenda

November 5, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
The centralized hotline system is among the topics to be discussed when the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee meets Nov. 8.
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Statute granting DCS immunity applies to nearly all of family’s claims

October 17, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A case involving the Department of Child Services before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday provided the court with two issues of first impression – the interpretation of a statute relating to the agency, and the liberty interests that may reside with extended family members involved in the lawsuit.
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COA split over whether DCS has authority to interview sibling

October 10, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
An Indiana Court of Appeals judge reached the opposite conclusion of her colleagues Wednesday in finding that the Department of Child Services lacks the statutory authority to conduct a forensic interview of a non-subject child residing in the same home as a child who has claimed abuse by a resident family member.
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Zoeller to speak at DCS study committee Thursday

October 10, 2012
IL Staff
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller is scheduled to appear before the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee meeting Thursday afternoon.
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Indiana Department of Child Services urged to set course for new direction

October 10, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
With a new governor taking over Indiana’s executive branch in January, what changes, if any, will come to the Department of Child Services are unknown. However, some contend that should not stop the agency from addressing criticism and implementing new policies or programs now.
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Payne resigns as head of DCS

September 24, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
James W. Payne, the director of the Indiana Department of Child Services since 2004, submitted his resignation letter Monday to Gov. Mitch Daniels. The resignation comes after news reports raised questions about his involvement in DCS actions pertaining to his grandchildren.
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DCS launching pilot to address children with mental health issues

September 18, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Department of Child Services announced Monday that it will fund a two-month pilot program that will utilize local services to provide help for juveniles with mental health issues.
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Attorney general’s office will now represent DCS on appeal

September 13, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoeller announced Thursday afternoon that the attorney general’s office will take over appellate representation of the Department of Child Services. DCS currently utilizes attorneys of its choice in appellate matters.
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Courts, DCS, Criminal Code Evaluation committees meet this week

September 4, 2012
IL Staff
The Commission on Courts holds its first meeting of the legislative interim Wednesday, and a common theme is the need for more judges.
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DCS admits petition flawed; COA orders more proceedings

August 31, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Gibson Circuit Court committed fundamental error in terminating the parental rights of a mother and father over their young child, the Indiana Court of Appeals held Friday. The Department of Child Services admitted that it failed to comply with statute when filing the petition to terminate their parental rights.
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  1. Well, maybe it's because they are unelected, and, they have a tendency to strike down laws by elected officials from all over the country. When you have been taught that "Democracy" is something almost sacred, then, you will have a tendency to frown on such imperious conduct. Lawyers get acculturated in law school into thinking that this is the very essence of high minded government, but to people who are more heavily than King George ever did, they may not like it. Thanks for the information.

  2. I pd for a bankruptcy years ago with Mr Stiles and just this week received a garnishment from my pay! He never filed it even though he told me he would! Don't let this guy practice law ever again!!!

  3. Excellent initiative on the part of the AG. Thankfully someone takes action against predators taking advantage of people who have already been through the wringer. Well done!

  4. Conour will never turn these funds over to his defrauded clients. He tearfully told the court, and his daughters dutifully pledged in interviews, that his first priority is to repay every dime of the money he stole from his clients. Judge Young bought it, much to the chagrin of Conour’s victims. Why would Conour need the $2,262 anyway? Taxpayers are now supporting him, paying for his housing, utilities, food, healthcare, and clothing. If Conour puts the money anywhere but in the restitution fund, he’s proved, once again, what a con artist he continues to be and that he has never had any intention of repaying his clients. Judge Young will be proven wrong... again; Conour has no remorse and the Judge is one of the many conned.

  5. Pass Legislation to require guilty defendants to pay for the costs of lab work, etc as part of court costs...

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