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 ...
Yes. But as of Monday, July 31, 2018 so can certain advocates and attorneys for your children. This comes by a sweeping decision by the Indiana Court of Appeals applying the statutory authority for this power (or standing) created by the Legislature. This blog surveys when and why DCS may seek to sever a parent-child relationship and addresses who else the Legislature empowered to do so by a new application of the law. After the Department of Child Services (DCS) brings a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) case, and the court finds ...
Have You Been Contacted by CPS or the Police for "Alleged" Child Abuse or Molestation? Consider These Three Key Points You Need To “Know” And What “To Do” (Or Not Do). There is a somewhat shared knowledge in our society that some children in ordinary—to—high-risk families are physically or sexually abused. Statistics are hard to come by but generally indicate, on average, that one in four children is subject to physical or sexual abuse, not factoring in the significant problem of human ...
In Indiana, there are thousands of DCS’ investigations each year. Many result in filing a petition to open a CHINS’ action against the parents. In the initial investigation from the DCS to and through the hearing, if a CHINS petition is filed, parents have the constitutional right to counsel. The question this blog post focuses on is, “Should parents have private counsel?” The answer is “probably.” There are four key reasons parents should seriously consider counsel. First, a CHINS’ proceeding ...
The Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) is tasked with investigating thousands of reports of abuse or neglect of children each year. This agency is literally the protector of children from certain parents. However, perhaps the oldest and most fundamental of constitutional rights is to raise one’s children as he or she sees fits, despite what the state may think otherwise or would do differently. While DCS has a legal duty to investigate each and every ...
As with all cases brought against an individual or family (civil or criminal), the State has the burden of proof. With respect to neglected children (“CHINS”) or children who commit acts that would be crimes (“Juvenile Delinquents”) if an adult, the Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) acts for the State. In a recent case, a divided Indiana Court of Appeals reversed a Child in Need of Services (“CHINS”) determination against a father. This case has three key holdings or points for ...
April 5, 2017 / Child Protective Services
Parents have a right to raise their children without state interference under what has been referred to as the most fundamental right in the United States Constitution. However, there is a point where parental decisions cross the line into abuse or neglect or children engage in activities that would be criminal if they were adults. When this occurs, Child Protective Services (CPS) may be notified by any concerned third party and are required to be notified by certain individuals and entities such as medical ...
What If the State Fails to Allege and Prove the Passage of Statutory Time Requirements to Terminate a Parent’s Right to His or Her Children
February 22, 2017 / Parental Rights
The point of a civil or criminal trial—overall--is to ensure substantive and procedural due process and protection of fundamental and key constitutional principles. However, no trial court is infallible and most trials do not occur without legal errors being made. This is why some errors may be deemed “harmless” and not afford a new trial or reversal. Stated differently, this means that unless a given error ...
"Do I need an Attorney if I'm am contacted by CPS about my child in Indiana?" Each year Indiana Child Protective Services receives and investigates thousands of calls about suspected child abuse or neglect from a host of individuals ranging from doctors to teachers to counselors. Their job is to investigate and, if necessary, file a request for a Child in Need of Services case to be prosecuted. Many parents wonder when and if they should ...
The Line Between Abuse, Neglect and Criminal Acts in Indiana One of the strongest constitutional protections is the fundamental right to raise children without the State telling parents how to do it. However, everyone understands that freedoms and rights come with responsibilities and obligations. This is also true for children. Indiana is a conservative legal state, but has drawn lines where those rights end and move into civil or criminal acts on children by parents. This blog explores four key areas where a parent’s decision may ...