IBJNews

Indiana court ruling could affect mentally ill kids

Back to TopCommentsE-mailPrintBookmark and Share

A recent Indiana Court of Appeals opinion could affect how the state Department of Child Services obtains treatment for some children with mental illnesses or developmental disabilities.

The agency sometimes substantiates neglect findings against parents who are unable to get care for their children, according to The Times of Munster. Entering the court system as juvenile delinquents or children in need of services is sometimes the only way such kids receive treatment.

But the court last month reversed the decision of a Marion County juvenile court judge who found a woman had neglected her teenage daughter and ordered her to obtain care for the girl. The appeals judges said the woman had already tried to get treatment for her daughter, referred to as V.H. in court documents.

"It is apparent that mother, who is a working single parent, was addressing V.H.'s behavioral issues," Judge John Baker wrote in the appellate court's unanimous opinion. "This is something for which we should applaud parents rather than condemn them through coercive action."

The Indianapolis woman had twice called police after her daughter became physically aggressive, court records say. After the second incident, she refused to pick up the girl, who was diagnosed with oppositional defiant disorder, from an emergency shelter until the girl received counseling services.

Police contacted the DCS, which investigated and then filed a petition claiming that the girl was a child in need of services because her mother hadn't provided the necessary care. The juvenile court judge granted the petition, found the mother in neglect, and ordered her to participate in services and pay the DCS $25 a week.

Attorney Amy Karozos, who represented the mother in the appellate case, said her client did not neglect her daughter, who is now 17. "I would hope (this opinion) would make DCS think about it before bringing a CHINS (children in need of services) case against a family that hasn't neglected their child," she said.

DCS spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland said the agency will not change any of its policies relating to children-in-need-of-services cases as a result of the court opinion. She said the agency's attorneys interpreted the ruling as a need for more evidence.

"It looks like DCS tried to help, tried to provide services," McFarland said.

Joel Schumm, a professor at Indiana University's Robert H. McKinney School of Law in Indianapolis, said the opinion shows the judges' concern about pursuing children-in-need-of-services proceedings against parents who are trying to help their children.

Schumm said the ruling puts judges in a difficult position because they may have parents before them who desperately need help.

"If DCS cannot pursue CHINS cases, then the child and the family end up in a position where they can't get help that they need," he told The Times.

ADVERTISEMENT

Post a comment to this story

COMMENTS POLICY
We reserve the right to remove any post that we feel is obscene, profane, vulgar, racist, sexually explicit, abusive, or hateful.
 
You are legally responsible for what you post and your anonymity is not guaranteed.
 
Posts that insult, defame, threaten, harass or abuse other readers or people mentioned in IBJ editorial content are also subject to removal. Please respect the privacy of individuals and refrain from posting personal information.
 
No solicitations, spamming or advertisements are allowed. Readers may post links to other informational websites that are relevant to the topic at hand, but please do not link to objectionable material.
 
We may remove messages that are unrelated to the topic, encourage illegal activity, use all capital letters or are unreadable.
 

Messages that are flagged by readers as objectionable will be reviewed and may or may not be removed. Please do not flag a post simply because you disagree with it.

Sponsored by
ADVERTISEMENT

facebook - twitter on Facebook & Twitter

Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ on Facebook:
Follow on TwitterFollow IBJ's Tweets on these topics:
 
Subscribe to IBJ
  1. By the way, the right to work law is intended to prevent forced union membership, not as a way to keep workers in bondage as you make it sound, Italiano. If union leadership would spend all of their funding on the workers, who they are supposed to be representing, instead of trying to buy political favor and living lavish lifestyles as a result of the forced membership, this law would never had been necessary.

  2. Unions once served a noble purpose before greed and apathy took over. Now most unions are just as bad or even worse than the ills they sought to correct. I don't believe I have seen a positive comment posted by you. If you don't like the way things are done here, why do you live here? It would seem a more liberal environment like New York or California would suit you better?

  3. just to clear it up... Straight No Chaser is an a capella group that formed at IU. They've toured nationally typically doing a capella arangements of everything from Old Songbook Standards to current hits on the radio.

  4. This surprises you? Mayor Marine pulled the same crap whenhe levered the assets of the water co up by half a billion $$$ then he created his GRAFTER PROGRAM called REBUILDINDY. That program did not do anything for the Ratepayors Water Infrastructure Assets except encumber them and FORCE invitable higher water and sewer rates on Ratepayors to cover debt coverage on the dough he stole FROM THE PUBLIC TRUST. The guy is morally bankrupt to the average taxpayer and Ratepayor.

  5. There is no developer on the planet that isn't aware of what their subcontractors are doing (or not doing). They hire construction superintendents. They have architects and engineers on site to observe construction progress. If your subcontractor wasn't doing their job, you fire them and find someone who will. If people wonder why more condos aren't being built, developers like Kosene & Kosene are the reason. I am glad the residents were on the winning end after a long battle.

ADVERTISEMENT