Indiana Department of Child Services

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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Case arising out of molestation not reported by DCS divides court

August 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
A lawsuit brought by parents against the Department of Child Services and Evansville Police Department for not informing them of their daughter’s molestation led each judge on the Court of Appeals panel to write his or her own opinion. The only thing the judges agreed on is that the police department is not a proper party to the case.
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DCS, criminal law study committees meet this week

August 20, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee will meet for the first time Wednesday afternoon to discuss various matters including funding and child in need of services cases.
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DCS taking recommendations for members of child fatality review teams

August 14, 2012
Marilyn Odendahl
The Indiana Department of Child Services has begun the process of establishing child fatality review teams across the state.
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COA rules trial court should have allowed DCS to withdraw adoption consent

July 10, 2012
Dave Stafford
The Department of Child Services’ failure to investigate a child’s aunt as a possible adoptive parent – and a trial court’s refusal to allow DCS to withdraw consent for foster parents to adopt after acknowledging its failure – prompted the Indiana Court of Appeals to reverse a trial court order granting the foster parents’ petition to adopt.
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Court upholds former DCS worker’s child molesting convictions

June 27, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals affirmed the 24-year sentence imposed on a former Hamilton County Department of Child Services’ case manager found guilty of molesting his cousin’s son.
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Judges uphold termination of parental rights

May 30, 2012
Jennifer Nelson
The Indiana Court of Appeals found ample evidence that a mother took little to no steps to correct the problems that led to her son’s removal and continued placement out of her care, so it affirmed the termination of parental rights. In its opinion, the judges also discussed Indiana Evidence Rule 201(b) regarding judicial notice of “records of a court of this state.”
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Appeals court reverses DCS judgment of CHINS

May 22, 2012
Dave Stafford
A 16-year-old Indianapolis girl was improperly adjudicated a child in need of services, and her mother should not have been subject to Department of Child Services oversight, the Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday.
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Confidentiality issues raised

March 28, 2012
Michael Hoskins
St. Joseph County case creates concern about protecting callers’ identities on child abuse claims.
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Governor signs DCS, new judge legislation

March 19, 2012
IL Staff
Gov. Mitch Daniels signed legislation last week that gives Johnson Superior Court a fourth judge and Allen Circuit Court another full-time magistrate, and an enrolled act that makes changes to the Department of Child Services.
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COA remands parental rights case

March 8, 2012
Michael Hoskins
Finding that a trial judge and Indiana Department of Child Services didn’t follow the law before involuntarily terminating parental rights, the Indiana Court of Appeals has sent the case back to Elkhart Circuit Court.
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On rehearing, COA affirms original opinion

February 14, 2012
Jenny Montgomery
On petition for rehearing, the state Department of Child Services claims that the appellate court imposed an undue burden upon the agency by recognizing that DCS has to make a prima facie showing regarding current conditions before the parent is obliged to come forward with evidence.
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DCS recognized with national award

January 11, 2012
IL Staff
The Indiana Department of Child Services has won one of four Casey Family Programs “Excellence in Leadership” awards for 2011. The award is given to those involved in child welfare who work to improve the lives of children and families.
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Grand jury indicts 2 attorneys, real estate broker

December 14, 2011
Cory Schouten
A grand jury in South Bend has returned a 14-count criminal indictment against two attorneys and a real estate broker from central Indiana over a state lease deal in Elkhart.
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Judges reverse termination of parents' rights

December 14, 2011
Jennifer Nelson
In a case filled with several errors and discrepancies, the Indiana Court of Appeals has reversed the termination of parental rights of a mother and two fathers because the Department of Child Services failed to meet the burden of proving that termination is in the best interest of the children.
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Indiana first in region to complete child welfare improvement plan

November 11, 2011
IL Staff
The Indiana Department of Child Services announced Thursday it has received word from Region V of the Administration of Child and Families, an affiliate of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, that it has satisfactorily finalized its Program Improvement Plan.
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Justices decline to reconsider out-of-state placements ruling

November 4, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Supreme Court has denied a rehearing petition from the state attorney general’s office to revisit a June ruling that upheld three statutes involving juvenile judges’ authority on out-of-state placements.
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Guidance offered on incarcerated parents' attendance at termination hearings

October 11, 2011
Michael Hoskins
Scolding the Indiana Department of Child Services for how it handled a parental termination case, the Indiana Supreme Court has found an incarcerated mother’s due process rights were not violated when she did not receive adequate notice about pending proceedings that would affect her rights as a parent or when she was not allowed to attend the hearings.
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Foster families get in free to Marengo Cave

October 6, 2011
IL Staff
Thanks to a partnership between Marengo Cave and the Indiana Department of Child Services, foster parents and their foster, biological and stepchildren will be able to get in to Marengo Cave’s guided walking tours for free.
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Court: CHINS fact-finding hearing required by due process

September 28, 2011
Michael Hoskins
The Indiana Court of Appeals disagrees with the state Department of Child Services that fact-finding and dispositional hearings in a child in need of services case are interchangeable. The appellate panel has ruled a Marion County father’s due process rights were denied because he didn’t receive the opportunity for a fact-finding hearing.
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  1. 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.

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  3. 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.

  4. 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.

  5. From the article's fourth paragraph: "Her work underscores the blurry lines in Russia between the government and businesses . . ." Obviously, the author of this piece doesn't pay much attention to the "blurry lines" between government and businesses that exist in the United States. And I'm not talking only about Trump's alleged conflicts of interest. When lobbyists for major industries (pharmaceutical, petroleum, insurance, etc) have greater access to this country's elected representatives than do everyday individuals (i.e., voters), then I would say that the lines between government and business in the United States are just as blurry, if not more so, than in Russia.

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