In Indiana, the Department of Child Services (DCS) investigates all allegations of abuse and neglect of Indiana’s children. There is a hotline where any person who suspects abuse or neglect of a child may make a report: 1-800-800-5556. Reports often come from doctors, teachers, and counselors.
As a parent of underage children, it is possible you will receive a DCS inquiry about abuse or neglect of your child(ren) in your home. By law, an investigation must occur in a short time and this may leave you unsure whether to have an attorney represent you. There are many aspects an attorney can help you navigate in the DCS process. The first is analyzing abuse or neglect allegations to help you determine how to proceed to protect you and your children.
For instance, and second, a more common allegation is drug abuse in the home. This may generate a request that you take a drug screen. However, in all cases, the Fourth Amendment applies and this is a search or seizure you may not want to consent to allow to have depending on the facts of your case. This is a key aspect many attorneys will help you with.
Thirdly, admissions you make in a DCS case may be criminal in nature and cause you to be criminally charged. For this reason, it is very important you carefully consider what you will testify to under penalty of perjury before you have any Child in Need of Services hearing brought by CPS. For this reason alone, it is wise to consider consulting with or retaining an attorney.
Finally, although uncommon, failure to properly comply with any CHINS services and the court orders may result in your parental rights being terminated. This severs your right to custody and legal authority of the child, who is a ward of the State and may be adopted by other adults.
A CPS investigation is a serious legal matter and you should carefully consider hiring counsel. We hope this blog post has provided you with some valuable information about Indiana CPS and CHINS process in Indiana. This blog was written by attorneys at Ciyou & Dixon, P.C. who practice throughout the State of Indiana. It is not intended to be a solicitation for specific legal services or advise.