M.D. (Mother) and J.D. (collectively, “the parents”) appeal the trial court’s decision to grant summary judgment in favor of the Department of Child Services (Child Services) and the Evansville Police Department (the Police Department) for Child Services’ and the Police Department’s failure to inform them of their daughter’s molestation. [Footnote omitted.] The trial court based its decision on the grounds of immunity under both the Indiana Tort Claims Act and Indiana Code section 31-33-6-1, one of Indiana’s child abuse reporting statutes. However, we find that the Police Department is not a proper party to this case. We also hold that Indiana Code section 31-33-18-4, the statute the parents say gives rise to Child Services’ duty to notify them of their daughter’s molestation, does not confer a private right of action. We therefore affirm the trial court.
Therefore, since the statutory duty imposed under Indiana Code section 31-33-18-4 is for the public’s benefit, we have explicitly held that there is no private right of action for failure to report child abuse, and we have expressed a reluctance to create a private right of action absent codification in this area, we hold that the parents do not have a private right of action and that the trial court therefore did not err in granting summary judgment in favor of Child Services.
However, this is not meant to suggest that we condone the way that this matter was handled by Child Services and the Police Department. We sympathize with the parents and understand their frustration that they were not informed that their daughter had been molested until a year after the fact. However, our legislature has not afforded a private right of action in these situations, so we must hold accordingly.
CRONE, J., concurring in part and dissenting in part with separate opinion.
BRADFORD, J., concurring in part, dissenting in part, and concurring in result with separate opinion
CRONE, Judge, concurring in part and dissenting in part
I agree with the majority’s affirmance of summary judgment in favor of the Police Department. I respectfully disagree, however, with the majority’s affirmance of summary judgment in favor of Child Services on the basis that Indiana Code Section 31-33-18-4 does not confer a private right of action – an issue that was not argued by the parties below. I also disagree with Judge Vaidik’s (and the trial court’s) determination that Child Services is entitled to statutory immunity in any event.