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 ...
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 ...
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 ...
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 many homes across America today, a grandparent (or third party) is the one raising a child or children of the biological parents. This may be for many reasons; typically, it is due to the instability of a parent, physical or mental health issues, drug use, incarceration of a parent or a pure lack of the ability and/or desire of a biological parent, well, to parent. This blog addresses what happens when a grandparent (or third party) becomes a bonded caregiver for ...
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 ...
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 ...
February 20, 2014 / Family Law
DCS can get involved in a lot of domestic disputes when there are allegations of child abuse or neglect. DCS, as a government agency, has a very important role in investigating any reports of abuse or neglect of a child, taking action, and protecting the child. Some professionals, such as teachers or doctors are required to report suspicions of abuse or neglect to DCS.1 Other times, reports come in from parents, ...