Indiana Department of Child Services

Mother not denied due process by not having appointed counsel in CHINS case

March 28, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
While disappointed that a trial court did not follow through with the appointment of counsel for a mother regarding a child in need of services action, any error in that failure was harmless, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Thursday. It upheld the termination of mother J.A.’s parental rights to her son G.P.
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Supreme Court blocks Lake Superior judge’s transfer bid

March 21, 2013
Dave Stafford
The Indiana Supreme Court on Thursday afternoon issued an emergency order preventing a Lake County judge from taking over the vacancy created when a fellow judge was tapped to lead the Department of Child Services.
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DCS centralized hotline undergoes changes in advance of legislation

March 14, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
Prior to the Indiana General Assembly implementing recommendations from an interim study committee, the Indiana Department of Child Services is making changes.
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House Committee approves CHINS bill returning power to prosecuting attorneys

March 13, 2013
Marilyn Odendahl
A bill giving prosecuting attorneys the ability to file a Child in Need of Services petition continues to garner strong support in the Indiana General Assembly.
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Court reverses DCS order requiring mother to take prescribed meds

February 20, 2013
Jennifer Nelson
A mother whose child was adjudicated as child in need of services won a partial victory before the Indiana Court of Appeals Wednesday.
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Commission for children, appellate judge retirement age legislation moving

February 13, 2013
IL Staff
The Indiana Senate passed on second reading Tuesday legislation that will create a commission on improving the status of children in the state. The introduced version of Senate Bill 125 was prepared by the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee.
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Jury: Real estate execs Bales, Spencer not guilty of fraud

February 8, 2013
Cory Schouten
John M. Bales lifted his crossed hands to his face and began to cry Thursday evening as a federal judge read the same jury verdict on each of 13 fraud counts against the real estate broker and his partner: Not guilty.
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Bales trial in jury's hands after colorful closings

February 7, 2013
Cory Schouten
The jury began deliberations Thursday in the federal fraud trial of Indianapolis real estate broker John M. Bales and partner William E. Spencer after three hours of spirited closing arguments Wednesday.
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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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  1. The sad thing is that no fish were thrown overboard The "greenhorn" who had never fished before those 5 days was interrogated for over 4 hours by 5 officers until his statement was illicited, "I don't want to go to prison....." The truth is that these fish were measured frozen off shore and thawed on shore. The FWC (state) officer did not know fish shrink, so the only reason that these fish could be bigger was a swap. There is no difference between a 19 1/2 fish or 19 3/4 fish, short fish is short fish, the ticket was written. In addition the FWC officer testified at trial, he does not measure fish in accordance with federal law. There was a document prepared by the FWC expert that said yes, fish shrink and if these had been measured correctly they averaged over 20 inches (offshore frozen). This was a smoke and mirror prosecution.

  2. I love this, Dave! Many congrats to you! We've come a long way from studying for the bar together! :)

  3. This outbreak illustrates the absurdity of the extreme positions taken by today's liberalism, specifically individualism and the modern cult of endless personal "freedom." Ebola reminds us that at some point the person's own "freedom" to do this and that comes into contact with the needs of the common good and "freedom" must be curtailed. This is not rocket science, except, today there is nonstop propaganda elevating individual preferences over the common good, so some pundits have a hard time fathoming the obvious necessity of quarantine in some situations....or even NATIONAL BORDERS...propagandists have also amazingly used this as another chance to accuse Western nations of "racism" which is preposterous and offensive. So one the one hand the idolatry of individualism has to stop and on the other hand facts people don't like that intersect with race-- remain facts nonetheless. People who respond to facts over propaganda do better in the long run. We call it Truth. Sometimes it seems hard to find.

  4. It would be hard not to feel the Kramers' anguish. But Catholic Charities, by definition, performed due diligence and held to the statutory standard of care. No good can come from punishing them for doing their duty. Should Indiana wish to change its laws regarding adoption agreements and or putative fathers, the place for that is the legislature and can only apply to future cases. We do not apply new laws to past actions, as the Kramers seem intent on doing, to no helpful end.

  5. I am saddened to hear about the loss of Zeff Weiss. He was an outstanding member of the Indianapolis legal community. My thoughts are with his family.

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