Morgan County parents, including a father who dealt meth to a confidential informant while his wife and three minor children were present, lost an appeal of their termination of parental rights Tuesday.
Mother B.A. and father J.A. were charged in February 2012 with drug and child-neglect offenses. The parents were arrested and their children placed into foster care by the Department of Child Services.
The parents admitted they were unable to care for their two girls and one son who at the time of the arrest were between the ages of 4 and 7. They were adjudicated children in need of services at an initial hearing about two weeks after their parents’ arrest.
Afterward, father was convicted of Class B felony dealing in methamphetamine and sentenced to 14 years in prison with four years suspended. Mother pleaded guilty to one count of Class D felony neglect and was released to probation, but after a drug violation, reunification efforts ceased.
On appeal, mother claims a due process violation because she was neither given nor signed a case plan pursuant to I.C. 31-34-15-1, -2. But Judge Terry Crone wrote for the panel that the record shows it wasn’t mother’s lack of knowledge about what she needed to do to get her children back, but instead lack of participation.
“While we caution the DCS to be more cognizant of the statutory framework by which it is to abide, which includes providing a case plan to each parent, we cannot conclude that its failure to provide one to Mother resulted in a procedural irregularity so egregious that she was denied due process of law. Thus, Mother’s argument fails,” Crone wrote.
Mother and father each also failed to persuade the panel that evidence to support termination of their parental rights was insufficient. The case is In re the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of C.A., L.A., and M.A. (Minor Children) and B.A. (Mother) and J.A. (Father) v. The Indiana Department of Child Services,