Maybe. As a general rule, the Indiana Department of Child Services has a hotline that parents and others may call1 (or must if they are a mandated reporter) to report cases where children are in danger. These reports are immediately investigated, and if need be, the children can be removed from one or both parents, followed by an emergency detention hearing. That said, there are remedies divorced parents (and those with children born out of wedlock) may follow to obtain “emergency custody” that does not involve the Indiana Department of Child Services. These legal tools that are available through divorce ...
May 13, 2020CD
The Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) handles the task of investigating reports of child abuse and neglect in an effort to protect children throughout Indiana. DCS has a legal obligation to investigate all allegations of child abuse and neglect and they have specific statutes and procedures that they are required to follow throughout the investigations. Although the goals of DCS are always to protect the children—the same as all parents want—they may be an intimidating agency to be contacted by if you are accused of abuse or neglect. This blog covers the top five things that you need to ...
October 29, 2019CD
By statute, the Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) has to investigate every claim of abuse or neglect by a parent reported to the hotline number. Unfortunately, DCS is understaffed and its primary investigators are not trained sufficiently to handle the onslaught of parental neglect reports including those who make false reports to gain some tactical advantage (such as in a divorce case). Thus, it is not uncommon for a parent to be falsely accused of neglect/abuse of their child and be caught up in the DCS system. This blog explores your rights and what you might want to do ...
September 26, 2019CD
Indiana's Safe Haven Law promises anonymity, but are there exceptions? Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. Family Law Attorney, Julie C. Dixon speaks with RTV6 Indianapolis about this complicated issue.
July 27, 2019CD
The United States Supreme Court has found that the Fourteenth Amendment protects the fundamental right of parents to make decisions as to care, custody, and control of their children.1 This means that a State has no independent right to interfere in the parent-child relationship. Of course, this, like most other things in life, has its limits. A parent who abuses or neglects their child, for example, has no fundamental right to do so. Children in abusive or otherwise dangerous situations can be protected by the State. The State does this by claiming the child is a child in need of ...
May 17, 2019CD
Any person in Indiana who suspects a child is abused or neglected is required by law to report this to the Indiana Child Abuse and Neglect Hotline at 1-800-800-5556. For children, reporters (i.e., callers) range from disgruntled parents going through a separation to teachers, therapists, and doctors. When DCS receives such a report, they may partner with law enforcement, such as if the allegation is child molesting. DCS is legally mandated to investigate every call. A standard practice with some allegations is to have the child forensically interviewed. In its most basic form, a forensic interview is done at a ...
May 9, 2019CD
Do I need an attorney if I am contacted by DCS about my children? Yes. Your right to parent your child is a fundamental right, guaranteed by the Due Process Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment. But, just like any other right in life, it is not absolute. For example, parents can discipline their children (known as the parental privilege) but do not have carte blanche to abuse or neglect their children. When a child is in a detrimental home environment or is found not having their basic needs met, then the State can become involved to protect the child. These questions ...
February 6, 2019CD
All parents have the fundamental right to the care, custody, and control of their child(ren).1 Basically, this means parents can raise their children in their own way--even if most people disagree with their style. While this is a fundamental constitutional right, it is not absolute. When a parent presents a risk or danger to a child’s physical or emotional wellbeing, DCS may file a Children in Need of Services (CHINS) case and the Court opens a CHINS case. The CHINS process is designed to allow an investigation into suspected abuse and neglect and provide the parents (and children) with services ...
October 4, 2018CD
A taboo topic that has been around for decades has been sexual activity or assault between siblings and what is a normal part of the human development process. A 2002 study by the US Department of Health and Human Services found that at least 2.3 percent of children have been sexually abused by a sibling. When this type of disclosure is made (or abuse) it is required to be reported to the Indiana Department of Child Services who must investigate by law. This blog post address some of critical legal issues parents should consider if they receive a call their ...
May 29, 2018CD
What Parents (And Those Around Children) Need to Know About Removal as Punishment and Its Connection to Divorce, DCS Investigations, And Criminal Charges Parents who have children heavily involved with the use of electronics have all probably observed a “meltdown” when devices are taken as a form of punishment. However, with a certain segment of children—even very young children—mainstream psychology publications began widely reporting in 2017 various psychological issues with detachment and depression with removing electronic devices from the child. Pre- and teenagers had some changes in behavior, but also took outrageous steps to seek the return of the devices on par ...
April 30, 2018CD