Indiana Lawyer’s top story of 2018 began inside an Indianapolis bar in the cool early-morning hours of Thursday, March 15. Attorney General Curtis Hill had had a few drinks. A few too many, several witnesses would later claim.
It’s not uncommon for the Indiana Department of Child Services to hear it doesn’t have enough evidence to support its child welfare cases. Children in need of services cases that enter the court often leave shredded by judges for lack of a sufficient reasoning as to why they came before the bench without enough evidence to back up the claims.
The $25 million Gov. Eric Holcomb recently pledged in additional funding for the Department of Child Services is not the first infusion of extra money given to the agency in recent years. In fact, the sum is one of the smaller supplements to the department’s annual state appropriation, which is more than $600 million.
Several times while talking about the statewide computer system that keeps track of child support money, John Owens rapped his knuckles on the nearest piece of wood. Indiana’s technology, dubbed ISETS, processes almost $1 billion in child support payments every year. However, the Department of Child Services says in a report that ISETS is “built on dying technology” from the 1980s. The concern is one day, it will crash for good.
A man convicted of harassing his Department of Child Services case manager to the point that she quit her job and moved to another county lost an appeal of his conviction Thursday, failing to convince the appellate court that the offense didn’t occur in Indiana.
Saying it was “troubled” by how the Department of Child Services chose to litigate two nearly back-to-back child welfare cases, the Indiana Court of Appeals has ordered a trial court to re-evaluate a 2018 CHINS petition without relying on facts that were available for litigation during a 2017 CHINS proceeding.
In response to a lawsuit seeking to require the state appoint attorneys to represent children in termination of parental rights or children in need of services proceedings, Indiana is arguing that adding more lawyers would only flatter the legal professionals and not mollify tragic circumstances.
A child in need of services case has been dismissed after an appellate panel concluded that a mother’s motion to dismiss because the fact-finding hearing was not completed within the statutory timeframe was incorrectly denied by the trial court.
As Senate Enrolled Act 1 was heading for its third and final reading in the Indiana House of Representatives, Rep. Vanessa Summers reminded her colleagues that their work in helping reform the Department of Child Services is not finished.
The Indiana Senate approved its two-year, $34.6 billion state budget proposal Tuesday morning, setting up final budget negotiations between both chambers as lawmakers close out the last two weeks of this year’s General Assembly.
The Indiana Court of Appeals admitted it made an erroneous statement in reversing a termination of parental rights order and granted the Department of Child Services’ request for a rehearing. But the appellate panel Wednesday affirmed its initial opinion, concluding the error had no bearing its original ruling that a mother’s due process rights were violated.