The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled Tuesday that court-appointed special advocates have the statutory authority to prosecute a petition to terminate parental rights, even when the Department of Child Services opposes the termination.
A bill that would have given immunity to guardians ad litem and court appointed child advocates stalled in the Indiana House, but other measures covering foster parents and placing new requirements on the Indiana Department of Child Services all passed through the Statehouse with little or no opposition.
With the help of a nearly $1 million grant, Child Advocates, Inc., is partnering with Indianapolis Legal Aid Society in a pilot project designed to sweep youths from the child in need of services process and get them into stable homes.
Court technology and several other court programs got a boost in the latest state biennial budget, including an additional $5.9 million to fund, in part, key initiatives for Hoosiers, such as court appointed special advocate programs.
When two wrongfully imprisoned brothers were pardoned after 30 years behind bars, they stood to collect hundreds of thousands of dollars in compensation. Now a federal judge is considering whether too much of their payout is being siphoned away by legal fees and high-interest loans.
Navigating the local court system is just one more traumatic experience for children who have been abused or neglected. But Tippecanoe County advocates believe a therapy dog to pat or scratch could ease their stress and lighten their moods.
About 400 Court Appointed Special Advocate volunteers will gather Monday at the Indiana Statehouse joined by Justice Steven David to highlight the program’s efforts and talk with lawmakers about issues facing children involved in the child welfare system.