• New law gives moms, dads behind bars hope in TPR cases

    Christina Kovats and Kristina Byers previously served time at the Indiana Women’s Prison, and this year they became advocates who worked to draft Indiana legislation aimed at dismantling the black-and-white mentality regarding termination of parental rights for incarcerated mothers. A new law now gives judges discretion in TPR cases involving parents behind bars.

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  • Lawsuit claims DCS failing to protect children and inflicting further harm

    Children going into the state’s child welfare system end up more broken, attorneys suing the Department of Child Services say, because they are not being provided with therapy and treatment to help them heal. Rather, the lawyers contend, DCS is just finding beds to stick the kids in and forgetting about their other needs.

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Articles

COA reverses termination of mother’s parental rights

A trial court erred in terminating a mother’s parental rights to her two minor children, finding the potential of the children’s reunification with their father and their continuing bond with their mom made the termination of their relationship with their mother not in their best interests.

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CHINS findings for siblings upheld

The parents of four children who were all adjudicated as children in need of services have lost their appeal of the CHINS determinations, with the Indiana Court of Appeals dismissing arguments claiming error on the part of the trial court and the Department of Child Services.

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Courts as conveners: Task force led by Rush releases recommendations for judicial response to opioid crisis

The National Judicial Opioid Task Force was created in 2017 to delve into ways the judiciary could get a handle on the opioid crisis. Co-chaired by Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush, the task force’s work culminated late last month in the release of a report that includes four findings and six recommendations for how courts can respond to the current drug scourge and be better prepared for the next addiction crisis.

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Admission of parents’ drug tests upheld in TPR case

Parents who objected to the admission of drug tests in their termination of parental rights hearing were unable to convince the Indiana Court of Appeals that their children would not be affected by their drug use. The panel affirmed removal would be in the children’s best interests.

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Res judicata clarification allows CHINS finding to stand

In granting a petition on rehearing, the Indiana Court of Appeals reversed its earlier ruling and allowed the Department of Child Services to move forward with a new child in need of services petition even though the filing relied on allegations made in a previous CHINS petition that had been overturned.

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