Family & Juvenile Law

April 2, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The House Judiciary Committee heard SB 324 concerning various child support matters sponsored by Rep. McNamara and Rep. Kirchhofer. Author Sen. Head explained that it repeals the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act currently in effect and replaces it with an updated version of the act. The bill also makes various changes to family and juvenile law concerning the following: (1) parties entitled to file a paternity action; (2) petitions for child support; (3) petitions for adoption; (4) adoption decrees; (5) duties of the child support bureau; and, (6) costs of services for children and payments of child support. An amendment was introduced proposing a technical correction, and adopted by consent. Testimony supporting the bill was received from a representative from the Department of Child Services explaining that federal funding would be secure by updating the Uniform Family Support Act provisions in the bill. The amended bill passed 9-0.

Family & Juvenile Law

March 27, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The House Judiciary Committee heard SB 352, sponsored by Rep. Steuerwald and Rep. McMillin, concerning identifying information for adoptions. Sen. Steele, an author of the bill, explained that this bill repeals, effective July 1, 2016, provisions applicable to adoptions finalized before January 1, 1994, that prohibit the release of identifying adoption information unless a consent to release the information is on file. It also provides that beginning July 1, 2016 identifying adoption information may be released unless a non-release is on file, regardless of when the adoption was filed. Under current law, this provision applies only to adoptions filed after December 31, 1993. Testimony was received in favor of the bill by several adoptees and adoption advocates, and a professor from the University of Baltimore School of Law. Concerns were raised by a representative from Governor Pence’s office, and testimony against the bill was received from a local adoption attorney. The bill was held in anticipation of Committee amendments.

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard HB 1196 on CHINS and delinquent child dual determination sponsored by Sen. Head and Sen. Bray. Sen. Head explained that the bill coordinates services when a child is identified as both a CHINS and a delinquent. The bill authorizes the juvenile court to order a dual status assessment conducted by a dual assessment team to make recommendation to the juvenile court which agency, DCS or the probation department, will be the primary supervising agency. A clarifying amendment was adopted by committee consent. Testimony in support of the bill was heard from DCS, Judge Charles Pratt of the Allen Superior Court, and the Indiana Association of Resources and Child Advocacy. The amended bill passed 7-0.

Family & Juvenile Law

March 13, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard HB 1216 on missing and trafficked children sponsored by Sen. Head and Sen. Houchin. The bill requires the Indiana State Police to prepare a pamphlet for distribution to every law enforcement agency to include information on the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and the National Runaway Safeline. The bill also (1) requires DCS to be notified if a child under 18 years of age is detained and an alleged victim of human trafficking, and (2) permits a defense to a charge of prostitution if a child was the victim or alleged victim of human trafficking. Both the Indiana Attorney General’s Office and the Indiana Protection for Abused and Trafficked Humans Task Force testified in favor of the bill. The bill passed 7-0.

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard HB 1434 concerning the Department of Child Services sponsored by Sen. Head and Sen. Holdman. This legislation (1) provides for background checks for host homes used in the collaborative care program, (2) exempts DCS staff from social work licensure in the same manner as other state agencies, (3) repeals duplicative Regional Service Council reporting requirements, (4) provides for local law enforcement and sex offender registry checks for service providers, (5) implements provisions of the federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, and (6) makes other changes. For a more detailed listing, see the January 23, 2015 legislative update. The Committee adopted two amendments by consent. The first amendment adds additional language for local background checks, amends the new requirements for the Another Planned Permanent Living Arrangement Permanency Option hearing to allow probation officers in delinquency cases and CHINS case managers to give information to the court in the same manner, either through court testimony or by report. The amendment also expands the number of DCS employees not subject to the social work licensure requirements, permits DCS to run record checks on successor guardians, and places all statutes on records checks in the same code section. The second amendment is technical in nature.  DCS testified in support of the bill. A public defender testified to concerns with the prohibition on using secure detention in CHINS cases. DCS agreed to reexamine this language. The amended bill passed 7-0.

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1304 pertaining to various criminal law matters sponsored by Sen. M. Young and Sen. Randolph. Author Rep. McMillin introduced the bill and an amendment that was adopted by consent. The amended bill passed committee 6-3. A summary of the amendment is as follows:

  • Requires the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute to track the number of juveniles under criminal court jurisdiction as a result of direct files and waiver of jurisdiction.
  • Authorizes individuals with intellectual disabilities and autism spectrum disorders to participate in pre-conviction and post-conviction forensic diversion programs.
  • Provides a treatment alternative to the prosecution of alcoholics and drug abusers through the Division of Mental Health and Addiction (DMHA) as an in-patient or in the community for a maximum of three years. The individual must be accepted by DMHA for treatment and approved by the court and the prosecutor to be eligible for this program. If the individual’s treatment program is successfully completed, the charges are dismissed.
  • Provides for treatment and probation following a conviction, subject to any mandatory minimum sentence imposed, for individuals with alcoholism or drug addiction. Failure to participate or complete treatment is a probation violation.
  • Establishes a new chapter for the voluntary treatment of drug abusers by DMHA.
  • Establishes a new chapter for the involuntary treatment by DMHA of alcoholics and drug abusers utilizing the civil commitment procedures under IC 12-26.
  • Amends IC 12-23-14-16 to authorize a court alcohol and drug program or the clerk to collect program fees.
  • Requires DMHA to establish standards and protocols for opioid treatment, including alternatives to methadone such as Naltrexone, Vivitrol, or a similar substance.
  • Clarifies that a person who possesses a hypodermic syringe, needle or other instrument adapted for use to violate the Indiana Legend Drug Act or commit an offense under IC 35-48-4 commits a level 6 felony.
  • Increases from 10 to 12 years old the minimum age in which a juvenile court shall waive a juvenile for murder after a full investigation and hearing.
  • Applies Indiana Rule of Evidence 617 to the custodial interrogation of juveniles and, if held in a place of detention, provides the interrogation must be video recorded.  Clarifies custodial interrogations of juveniles at schools shall be audio recorded.  The custodial interrogation of the juvenile is confidential and is exempt from disclosure under IC 5-14-3.
  • Prohibits the restraint of juveniles in court, unless the court has determined on the record, after considering the recommendation of the sheriff or transport officer, the juvenile is dangerous.  However, if the juvenile caused a physical disruption in open court, the court may order restraints.
  • Authorizes the county auditor to seek 100% reimbursement for county expenditures for a full-time chief public defender from the public defense fund if the county has an office established under IC 30-40-7 or IC 36-1-3.
  • Amends IC 33-37-2-2 to provide that a delinquent act is committed if a child leaves home or a specified location previously designated by a parent, guardian or custodian.
  • Authorizes a court to appoint a “mental health advocate,” who is a trained community volunteer, to assist a person with an intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder who has been charged with a criminal offense.
  • Amends the crime of possession of paraphernalia (IC 35-48-4-8.3) to exclude rolling papers and reduces the offense to a class C misdemeanor unless the individual has a prior unrelated conviction under this section, making the offense a class A misdemeanor.
  • Authorizes, as a condition of probation, a prosecutor diversion program, parole, community corrections, forensic diversion, a problem-solving court or a mental health and addiction forensic treatment services program, an individual to receive addiction counseling, inpatient detoxification, and medication assisted treatment, including Vivitrol.
  • Amends the habitual offender statute (IC 35-50-2-8) to allow a court to suspend a portion of any additional term imposed under this section if the offender participates and successfully completes a court approved substance abuse treatment program. The accrued time in the program shall be deducted from the habitual offender’s additional fixed term of imprisonment.

Family & Juvenile Law

March 5, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1304 on various criminal law issues, sponsored by Sen. Steele. Fifteen testified on the the legislation including Judge Mary Willis, President, Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges and Linda Brady, President, Probation Officers Professional Association of Indiana. Judge Willis focused on potential use of restraints for juveniles in limited cases and the need for safety when juveniles are in the courtroom. She also discussed the need for data before making the proposed changes to the ages for presumptive and nonpresumptive waiver of juveniles. Linda Brady supported the increase in treatment options for adults with mental health issues in the legislation. Other speakers discussed the recording custodial interrogations of juveniles, the confusion with the use of the term CASA for representatives in mental health cases, credit time in certain cases and other areas.  The bill was held for the Committee’s next meeting.

Family & Juvenile Law

February 27, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

Bill No. Bill Title Committee 2nd Reading 3rd Reading Sponsor(s)
SB 324 Various child support matters 1/29/15 Do Pass –A 2/3/15 Engrossed 2/5/15 Passed 48-0 McNamara
SB 352 Identifying information for adoptions 1/15/15 Do Pass 1/20/15 Engrossed 1/22/15 Passed 46-3 Steuerwald, McMillin
SB 564 Status of marriage study 2/9/15 Do Pass –A 2/12/15 Engrossed 2/17/15 Passed 38-12 DeVon
HB 1196 CHINS and delinquent child dual determination 2/3/15 Do Pass –A 2/5/15 Engrossed –A 2/9/15 Passed 99-0 Head, Bray
HB 1216 Missing children and trafficked children 1/22/15 Do Pass 1/26/15 Engrossed –A 1/27/15 Passed 98-0 Head, Houchin
HB 1304 Various criminal law issues 2/12/15 Do Pass –A 2/16/15 Engrossed –A 2/17/15 Passed 94-0 Steele
HB 1434 Department of Child Services 1/22/15 Do Pass –A 1/26/15 Engrossed 1/27/15 Passed 96-0 Head, Holdman

Family & Juvenile Law

February 20, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The Senate Civil Law Committee heard Sen. Pete Miller’s SB 109 about support for educational needs of a child who is at least 19-years old. A representative from the Family and Juvenile Law Section of the Indiana State Bar Association testified against the bill. The committee stripped the bill and inserted language urging the Legislative Council to assign the concept to a 2015 interim committee. The amended bill passed 10-0.   

Family & Juvenile Law

February 13, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The Senate Family and Children Committee heard SB 564, authored by Sen. Zakas and Sen. Grooms, originally on changing the waiting period for dissolution of marriage. The bill was amended by consent of the Committee to assign the topic to an appropriate study committee. The bill passed as amended, 7-1.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1304 on various criminal law issues authored by Reps. McMillin and Steuerwald.  Rep. McMillin introduced an amendment incorporating a number of changes to the original legislation.  The bill with amendments reads as follows:

  • includes the amendment adopted last week permitting the use of Vivitrol for substance abuse, alcohol or opioid abuse treatment;
  • includes the amendment adopted last week broadening the definition of runaway to include leaving a specific location designated by a parent, guardian or custodian in addition to leaving home without consent;
  • requires the Criminal Justice Institute to collect and analyze data concerning permissive and presumptive juvenile waivers from juvenile courts, in addition to direct file cases;
  • amends the forensic diversion program to permit participation by adults with an “autism spectrum disorder” and/or “intellectual disability” both pre and post conviction;
  • allows diversion and deferral fees to be used to fund mental health treatment in a prosecutorial diversion program.  Permits a prosecutor to require an individual to receive mental health treatment services for any criminal offense (previously limited to felonies);
  • permits a court to advise an individual convicted of a criminal offense that the individual may be placed on probation if the individual requests and is accepted for drug or alcohol abuse treatment by DMHA, subject to any mandatory minimum sentence imposed on the individual;
  • authorizes individuals to seek voluntary treatment from DMHA for drug abuse and authorizes the involuntary commitment to DMHA of individuals who are alcoholics, incapacitated by alcohol or drug abusers;
  • increases the minimum age a child can be charged with murder if committed by an adult and be waived from 10 to 12 years of age;
  • increases the minimum age a child shall be waived from 16 to 17 years of age under Ind. Code § 31-30-3-5;
  • requires law enforcement agencies to record custodial interrogations of juveniles, except in schools if it would impair the administration of school functions, and prohibits the shackling of juveniles in court unless the court has determined the juvenile is dangerous or potentially dangerous;
  • permits a county auditor to seek reimbursement for the expenses of juvenile defense counsel from the Public Defender Commission for 100% of the county’s expenditures;
  • repeals a court’s authority to place a repeat runaway or truant in secure detention and removes the authority to hold a runaway 24 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and non-judicial days) before and after a detention hearing;
  • permits a problem-solving court to require an individual to receive addiction counseling, inpatient detoxification and medication assisted treatment including Vivitrol as a condition of problem solving court participation;
  • authorizes a court to appoint a special advocate to assist persons with intellectual disability or autism spectrum disorder who has been charged with a criminal offense;
  • permits a person to receive, as a condition of probation or parole, to receive addiction counseling, inpatient detoxification and medication assisted treatment including Vivitrol; and,
  • permits a court to suspend a nonsuspendible sentence of a habitual offender during the time the offender is participating in a court approved substance abuse treatment program, and allows the time spent in the program to be deducted from the offender’s additional fixed term of imprisonment if the program is successfully completed.

The amended bill passed 12-0.

Family & Juvenile Law

February 6, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard SB 364, concerning Department of Child Service Reporting, authored by Sen. Broden and Sen. Grooms.  The chair presented the bill, which amends the definition of “near fatality” for confidential records purposes involving such cases.  The new definition means a severe childhood injury or condition that results in a child receiving critical care for at least 24 hours following admission to a critical care unit.  An amendment was presented to maintain the confidentiality of police records in a near fatality investigation and adopted by consent.  The Department of Child Services testified regarding some concerns with the proposed amended definition and its expansion of covered cases.  The current definition is consistent with the federal definition and carries specific reporting requirements for the state.  If the definition conflicts with federal laws, then funding could be placed in jeopardy. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Hoosier State Press Association testified in support of the amended bill. The bill was held for further consideration.

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard SB 485 concerning psychiatric crisis intervention authored by Sens. Crider and Becker. The bill amends the date for FSSA to report on comprehensive psychiatric crisis intervention services and requires DMHA to establish a psychiatric crisis intervention pilot program in at least 3 locations in rural and urban areas.  DMHA is also responsible for evaluating the pilot programs based on recidivism, sustainability, resource investment, cost effectiveness, clinical outcomes, ability to provide 24-hour walk-in crisis services, and ability to provide mental health and substance use disorder inpatient services. The bill also requests appropriations for these programs. Those testifying in favor included: Executive VP of Behavioral Health with Community Health Network; doctor and Director of Operations for Community Health Network; Criminal Justice Director for NAMI; Indiana Community Mental Health Center Network; Mental Health America of Indiana; VP Indiana Hospital Association; and the Indiana Psychological Association. The bill passed 6-0 and was recommitted to the Appropriations Committee.

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard Sen. Zakas’ SB 564 concerning the waiting period for dissolution of marriage. The bill extends the waiting period to 180 days for a final hearing if there are children of the marriage that are less than 17 years old, and extends the waiting period to 120 days if an objection to the dissolution is filed by either party. The bill maintains the 60-day waiting period if either party to the dissolution matter asserts that the other party engaged in domestic violence against the petitioning party or the party’s child.  An amendment was adopted by consent that would require the assertion of domestic violence to be made under oath or affirmation and the asserted violence could be against either party to the dissolution in addition to the children. After taking supporting testimony and hearing the concerns from the Indiana State Bar Association Family and Juvenile Law section, the bill was held for further consideration until the next meeting.

The House Judiciary heard HB 1196 concerning CHINS and delinquent child dual jurisdiction.  Author Rep. McNamara presented the legislation requiring the intake officer to screen for a dual jurisdiction child. The Committee adopted an amendment outlining the dual jurisdiction process and clarifying the process could be utilized both before and after adjudication. Once screened, the court decides if the juvenile should be fully assessed as a dual jurisdiction child.  The dual jurisdiction assessment team would recommend to the court services and supervision for the child. The court would then determine the lead agency (DCS or probation) for the child.  Judge Mary Willis, President of the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, spoke in favor of the bill. She gave examples when it would be useful and noted it embraced the vision and builds on the JDAI initiative. Judge Charles Pratt, Co-Chair of the Dual Jurisdiction Task Force, Commission on Improving the Status of Children also spoke in favor of the legislation and noted it is based on national reform models already in existence.  The program coordinates services for both CHINS and delinquents. Larry Landis, Indiana Public Defender’s Council and David Powell, Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council also spoke in favor of the bill. The bill passed as amended, 8-0.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1304 on various criminal law issues for juveniles. Since Representative McMillin was still working on additional amendments, only two of the four of the amendments heard the previous week were adopted by consent of the committee. The amendment permitting use of Vivitrol and the amendment broadening the definition of “runaway” to include leaving a specific location designated by a parent, guardian or custodian in addition to leaving home without consent were adopted by voice vote. The bill was held for further amendment.

Family & Juvenile Law

January 30, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 324, authored by Sens. Head and L. Brown, on various child support matters. This bill makes various changes to family and juvenile law concerning: (1) parties entitled to file a paternity action, (2) petitions for child support, (3) petitions for adoption, (4) adoption decrees, (5) duties of the child support bureau, and (6) costs of services for children and payments of child support. This bill also repeals the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act currently in effect and replaces it with an updated version of the act. Sen. Head explained that Indiana is required, under the federal Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act, to adopt the newest version of the Uniform Interstate Family Support Act (UIFSA) passed in 2008 by July 1, 2015 in order to continue receipt of approximately $275 million dollars of federal Title IV-D monies. DCS testified in support of the bill. The Committee adopted a technical amendment by consent. The amended bill passed 8-1.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard Rep. McMillin’s HB 1304 on various criminal law issues. This bill:

  • requires tracking the number of direct file charges against juveniles in adult court by the Indiana Criminal Justice Institute;
  • amends the forensic diversion program to include persons with intellectual disabilities;
  • expands treatment in lieu of or after conviction by courts with alternative evidence based methods;
  • raises the minimum age for non-presumptive waiver under Ind. Code § 31-30-3-2 from 14 to 16 years of age, non-presumptive waiver under Ind. Code § 31-30-3-3 from 16 to 17 years of age, and the minimum age a child can be charged with murder if committed by an adult and waived from 10 to 12 years of age under Ind. Code § 31-30-3-4;.
  • amends the presumptive waiver statute under Ind. Code § 31-30-3-5 to increase the age for waiver from 16 to 17 years of age;
  • requires a law enforcement agency to record custodial interrogations of juveniles, except in schools if it would impair the administration of school functions;
  • removes authority to hold a runaway 24 hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and non-judicial days) before and after a detention hearing;
  • amends Ind. Code § 33-40-6-4 to provide a county auditor may request reimbursement from the Public Defender Commission for 100% of the county’s expenditures for juvenile defense services;
  • creates a court appointed special advocate to assist persons with intellectual disabilities charged in a criminal offense and for payment of a user fee for this service; and,
  • allows a court to suspend the sentence of certain habitual offenders if the habitual offender is in a court approved substance abuse treatment program.

Numerous people spoke in favor of the legislation. The bill was held until next week to amend the following bills into this legislation:

  • HB 1059: expanding the definition of a runaway to  include a child leaving a specific location previously designated by the child’s parent, guardian or custodian in addition to home and expand the crime of false reporting;
  • HB 1195: authorizing the use of Vivitrol to treat opioid or alcohol addiction as a condition of parole, probation community corrections, pretrial diversion or participation in problem solving courts;
  • HB 1389: including provisions for treatment of persons with intellectual disabilities who commit crimes; and,
  • HB 1595: removing the authority of courts to place repeat truants and runaways in secure detention and/or DOC.

Family & Juvenile Law

January 23, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee heard Rep. Truitt’s HB 1216 concerning missing children and trafficked children. The legislation requires the Indiana State Police to prepare an informational pamphlet for distribution to every law enforcement agency with toll free numbers for the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the National Runaway Hotline and other services to provide to families of missing children. The bill also provides a defense to the crime of prostitution if the person is a child and a victim of sex trafficking.  Requires law enforcement to contact DCS if a child under age 18 and an alleged victim of sex trafficking is detained. A prosecutor, a representative and a volunteer from the National Runaway Safeline testified in favor of the bill. The Indiana State Police gave information about the runaway problem and answered questions by the committee. The bill passed 12-0.

The House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee heard Rep. Mahan’s HB 1434 making various juvenile law changes which affect the Department of Child Services and juvenile courts.  Representative Mahan introduced the bill, which has five portions:

  • requires the Indiana State Police to conduct a record check of local records in addition to the national background check, for service providers;
  • requires national background checks for collaborative care host homes;
  • repeals the requirement that DCS family case managers be licensed social workers;
  • repeals the requirement that the Regional Services Council prepare a local plan for the provision of child protection services;
  • makes numerous amendments to the juvenile code to permit Indiana to comply with the recently passed federal, “Preventing Sex Trafficking and Strengthening Families Act.” These changes include
    • defines a “Reasonable and prudent parent standard” for determining when a child in foster care can participate in extracurricular, enrichment, cultural and social activities;
    • eliminates the term independent living and defining “successful adulthood” for the same purpose;
    • directs DCS to provide the child’s medical passport to the child or child’s legal guardian at the close of a CHINS or collaborative care case in certain instances;
    • requires an older youth who received foster care to be eligible for placement in collaborative care on the day the child becomes 18 years old, not during the month the child becomes 18 years old;
    • permits foster children at least 14 years to select a ‘child representative’ to participate in development of case and transition plans;
    • adds to the requirements to the use of permanency option of “another planned permanent living arrangement” to require in both CHINS and Delinquency cases, documentation or testimony from DCS (or testimony only in the case of probation), of the intensive, ongoing and unsuccessful efforts made to return the child to the home, secure a fit and willing relative, or find adoptive families for the child.  In addition, the court must make a judicial determination explaining why another planned permanent living arrangement is the best permanency plan for the child and provide compelling reasons why it continues to not be in the best interests of the child to return home or use another permanency option. Testimony must be provided to indicate steps DCS or probation is taking to ensure the child’s foster family or placement is taking to follow the reasonable and prudent parent standard and provide the child has regular, ongoing opportunities to engage in age or developmentally appropriate activities.
  • A technical amendment was adopted by the Committee. The amended bill passed 12-0.