The Senate Judiciary Committee heard HB 1029, sponsored by Sen. Glick, on releasing adoption history information. This bill adds a relative of an adoptee and a pre-adoptive sibling to the definition of interested persons who could petition the court to request the release of medical information, non-identifying information or identifying information. In addition, it adds the relative of an adoptee, or of a birth parent to the list of people that the court is permitted to release information to through a confidential intermediary. Attorney Steven Kirsh testified in favor of the bill. The bill passed, 8-0.
The House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee heard SB 125, sponsored by Rep. Mahan, on child fatality reviews and the Commission on Children. Author Sen. Holdman asked the Committee to place the extensive revision of Indiana’s child fatality reviews from SB 572 into SB 125. This would mirror HB 1123 that also combined the same legislation in the House. The Committee agreed by consent to the combination. In addition, the Committee agreed by consent to have (1) the Director of Youth Services of DOC serve on the Commission of Children rather than the Commissioner of DOC, (2) Legislative Services Agency serve as the staff agency for the DCS Oversight subcommittee rather than the Indiana Judicial Center, (3) agency heads rather than designees sit on the full Commission on Improving the Status of Children, instead of allowing designees in another version of the bill, and (4) remove the provider from the full commission. The bill continues to have the Judicial Center staff the Commission on Improving the Status of Children and to have a provider of services to DCS on the DCS Oversight Subcommittee. The chief medical officer of the State Department of Health expressed concerns about HIPAA violations, as well as the impact of revealing a child’s death on the family. The Committee amended the bill to make disclosure permissive. The amended bill passed, 11-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard SB 142, sponsored by Rep. McMillin pertaining to the statute of limitations on child sex abuse cases. Author Sen. Mrvan testified that this is a victims’ rights bill. The bill increases the statute of limitations in a civil action based on child sexual abuse to the later of: (1) seven years after the cause of action accrues; or (2) four years after the person ceases to be a dependent of the person alleged to have performed the sexual abuse. The bill also increases the statute of limitations for the criminal prosecution of certain sex offenses involving children from five years to the later of: (1) ten years after the commission of the offense; or (2) four years after the person ceases to be a dependent of the person alleged to have committed the offense. Representatives from the Indiana Catholic Conference and the Office of the Attorney General testified in support of the bill. The Committee discussed the need to define when a child sexual abuse cause of action accrues for the purposes of calculating the statute of limitations at length without further resolution. The bill passed, 10-0.
The Senate Corrections and Criminal Law Committee heard HB 1108, sponsored by Sen. M. Young, Sen. Steele and Sen. Taylor, providing sentencing alternatives for youthful offenders. The bill provides an opportunity for juveniles sentenced as adults for crimes to be placed in juvenile facilities. The bill has no effect on waiver procedures. It confers authority on the criminal sentencing court to order an offender under age 18 to be placed into the custody of the Department of Correction to be placed in a juvenile facility of the Division of Youth Services, if the department agrees to the placement; and to provide that the successful completion of the placement of the offender in the juvenile facility is a condition of the suspended criminal sentence. The bill also provides that when an offender becomes 18 years of age, the sentencing court must hold a review hearing concerning the offender before the offender becomes 19 years of age. The sentencing court, after the review hearing, may (1) continue the offender’s placement in a juvenile facility until the objectives of the sentence imposed on the offender have been met, if the sentencing court finds that the objectives of the sentence imposed on the offender have not been met; (2) discharge the offender if the sentencing court finds that the objectives of the sentence imposed on the offender have been met; (3) order execution of all or part of the offender’s suspended criminal sentence in an adult facility of the department of correction; or (4) place the offender in home detention, in a community corrections program, on probation, or in any other appropriate alternative sentencing program. The Prosecuting Attorneys Council offered an amendment applicable to the “top six direct file” offenses – murder, attempted murder, kidnapping, A felony rape, A felony deviate conduct, and A felony armed robbery. The amendment would prohibit a court from vacating or modifying a youthful offender’s sentence for one of these six offenses after the age 18 review hearing unless the prosecutor consents to the modification. Judge Christopher Burnham testified in favor of the bill on behalf of the Indiana Association of Juvenile and Family Court Judges. Judge Burnham acknowledged the amendment does remove judicial discretion at this review/modification stage, but also noted that it was more important to get this bill passed for the majority of juveniles that will be affected by the bill. The bill passed as amended, 7-0.
The House Judiciary Committee heard SB 6, sponsored by Rep. Steuerwald, permitting a child in a dissolution case receiving child support under an order issued before July 1, 2012, to file a petition for educational needs until the child becomes 21 years of age. This matches the existing law for paternity cases. The bill also makes child support statutes in dissolution cases the same as in paternity cases. In addition, the bill provides that if an order was issued denying support for educational needs to a child less than between the ages of 19 and 21 years old, a subsequent petition for educational needs for the child may be filed for that support. The bill was amended to make technical corrections, to make the bill effective upon passage, and to move the date when a parent who is ordered to pay child support may claim the child as a dependent if the parent had paid 95% of the parent’s child support for the calendar year to December 31. The amended bill passed, 11-0.
The House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee heard SB 164, sponsored by Rep. Mahan, allowing a prosecuting attorney to request a juvenile court to authorize the filing of a Child in Need of Services Petitions (CHINS). The bill was amended to match the language in HB 1040. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council testified in support of the bill, and testified that the Indiana Public Defender’s Council also supports the bill. The amended bill passed, 11-0.
The House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee heard SB 202, sponsored by Rep. Kubacki, requiring that persons filing petitions to modify custody and visitation must indicate if the person or the child has been the subject of a CHINS case. A technical amendment was taken by consent. The amended bill passed, 12-0.
|Bill No.||Bill Title||Committee||2nd Reading||3rd Reading||Sponsor(s)|
|SB 6||Petitioning for support||1/31/13 Do Pass –A||2/7/13 Engrossed –A||2/11/13 Passed 48-0||Steuerwald|
|SB 105||Child abuse and neglect reports||1/24/13 Do Pass||1/28/13 Engrossed –A||1/29/13 Passed 47-0||Koch|
|SB 125||Commission on improving the status of children||1/31/13 Do Pass –A||2/12/13 Engrossed –A
2/21/13 Engrossed –A
|2/25/13 Passed 50-0||Mahan|
|SB 164||Child in need of services petitions||1/31/13 Do Pass||2/4/13 Engrossed||2/5/13 Passed 49-0||Mahan|
|SB 202||Petitions to modify custody and visitation||2/21/13 Do Pass –A||2/25/13 Engrossed –A||2/26/13 Passed 50-0||Kubacki|
|SB 572||Child fatality reviews||1/24/13 Do Pass||2/14/13 Engrossed –A||2/19/13 Passed 48-1||McMillin|
|HB 1029||Adoption history information||1/29/13 Do Pass –A||1/31/13 Engrossed||2/4/13 Passed 95-0||Glick|
|HB 1040||Child in need of services petitions||2/14/13 Do Pass –A||2/19/13 Engrossed –A||2/20/13 Passed 96-0||Yoder, Holdman|
|HB 1041||Petitions to modify custody and visitation||2/14/13 Do Pass –A||2/20/13 Engrossed –A||2/21/13 Passed 96-0||Bray, Holdman|
|HB 1108||Sentencing alternatives for youthful offenders||2/7/13 Do Pass –A||2/11/13 Engrossed||2/12/13 Passed 88-9||M. Young, Steele, Taylor|
|HB 1123||Child fatality reviews and commission on children||2/14/13 Do Pass –A||2/19/13 Engrossed –A||2/20/13 Passed 98-0||Holdman, Yoder, Lanane|
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 202, authored by Sen. Bray and Sen. Broden, on petitions to modify custody and visitation. This bill provides a person seeking or modifying a guardianship, visitation or child custody case must indicate if the person or the child have been the subject of a CHINS case. The bill was amended to change “investigation” to “assessment,” to be consistent with current law. The amendment also adds informal adjustments to the proceedings subject to the disclosure, changes the wording on the petition to require the petitioner to reveal what he or she knows, and maintains the confidentiality of any information given to the court. Sen. Bray indicated that the amendment is an attempt to bring the bill’s language in line with HB 1041. The bill passed as amended, 6-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Steele’s SB 171 on grandparent and great-grandparent visitation. This bill allows grandparents and great-grandparents to seek visitation with grandchildren if the grandparent or great-grandparent had meaningful contact with the child but the parent terminated the child’s visits due to an estrangement. The bill was amended so that the court would have to determine grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ rights based on clear and convincing evidence, added the word “significant” to describe the meaningful contact, and added a factor for consideration that the termination of the child’s visits was unreasonable. The amended bill failed to pass, 3-3.
The House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee heard HB 1040, authored by Rep. Kubacki and Rep. Mahan, authorizing the prosecutor to file Child In Need of Services (CHINS) petitions. The bill was amended to provide that the prosecutor “may” represent the interests of the State throughout the process, instead of requiring the prosecutor to do so. The Public Defender’s Council and the Prosecuting Attorney’s Council spoke against the amendment, but in favor of the bill. The amended bill passed, 9-2.
The House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee heard HB 1041, authored by Rep. Kubacki and Rep. Mahan, requiring CHINS information in petitions to modify custody and visitation. An amendment was adopted requiring the person who was the perpetrator of a substantiated assessment of child abuse or neglect to reveal this information in the filing for the petition for guardianship, or establishment or modification of parenting time or custody and to reveal if the child named in the petition has been a victim of a substantiated assessment or child abuse or neglect, a CHINS, or involved in a CHINS informal adjustment. The amendment also changes the term “investigation” to “assessment.” The bill passed as amended, 11-0.
The House Family, Children, and Human Affairs Committee combined hearing on: Rep. Kubacki and Rep. Mahan’s HB 1042, Committee on Child Services Oversight, Rep. Riecken and Rep. Summers’s HB 1420, child fatality reviews, and Rep. Mahan and Rep. Kubacki’s HB 1123, Commission on Improving the Status of Children. By amendment, HB 1042 and HB 1420 were added to HB 1123. Justice Loretta Rush and the Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council testified in favor of the combined legislation. Other amendments adopted substitute the Director of Youth Services at DOC for the DOC commissioner and place a service provider on the Commission on Improving the Status of Children. Another amendment adopted simplifies the language requiring the local child fatality review teams to report data. The bill passed as amended, 14-0.
The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard Rep. McNamara’s HB 1108 creating sentencing alternatives for youthful offenders excluded or waived from juvenile court jurisdiction. The bill permits a waived or excluded youth to be sentenced to the juvenile programs of DOC until 18 years old, and then, after a review hearing before the adult sentencing court, to be placed or not placed in an adult DOC facility. At the review hearing, the court could discharge the offender, order execution of the remaining portion of the sentence at an adult DOC facility, or place the offender in home detention, community corrections or probation. An amendment provides: (1) for notice to the victim of the use of this sentencing alternative, (2) a reference in IC 35 about the use of this sentencing option for direct file cases, (3) removal of the requirement of DOC agreement to use this option, (4) adds a section to permit DOC to reclassify the risk of the juvenile, and (5) permits the offender, if the offender is sentenced to a juvenile DOC program, to finish the programming if the juvenile turns 18 years old, but before becoming 19 years old. The Youth Services Division of DOC, Morgan Superior Court judge and chair of the Juvenile Justice Improvement Committee Judge Christopher Burnham, and the Public Defender’s Council testified in support of the bill. The amended bill passed, 10-2.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Sen. Tallian’s SB 6, on petitioning for support. This bill provides the same provisions for petitions for educational support at age 19 in paternity and dissolution proceedings. An amendment combines the paternity and dissolution child support statutes into one statute. A second amendment includes the priority of unpaid support at parent’s death for both paternity and dissolution proceedings. A third amendment provides that if a duty to support a child in a dissolution was denied after June 30, 2012 for a child who was less than 21 years old but older than 18 years old, the parent or child my file with the court a subsequent petition for educational needs. The Family and Juvenile Law Section of the Indiana State Bar Association spoke in favor of the bill. All amendments were adopted by consent. The amended bill passed, 8-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 125, authored by Sen. Holdman and Sen. Broden, creating a DCS oversight committee, the Commission on Improving the Status of Children. An amendment was adopted adding the Commission on Child Issues, a companion bill from the Interim Study Committee on DCS. The amendment increases the membership of the Commission from 9 to 16 members, including a foster care or residential home provider. Justice Loretta Rush testified in favor of the legislation, noting the idea for a Commission on Children has been studied since 2009 by a group convened by the Division of State Court Administration. Justice Rush testified that funds may be available from the Casey Foundation and the Court Improvement Program to support this Commission. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorney Council, Indiana Children’s Coalition, and the Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council testified in favor of the bill. The amended bill passed, 8-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard Senator Holdman’s SB 164, permitting prosecutors to file Child in Need of Services petitions. The Prosecuting Attorney’s Council and the Public Defender’s Council testified in support of the bill. The bill passed, 8-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 202, authored by Sen. Bray and Sen. Broden, on petitions to modify custody and visitation. This bill, from the Interim Study Committee on DCS, provides that if a person files a petition to establish or modify a guardianship, visitation or child custody case, the petitioner must verify if the petitioner has been subject to a DCS investigation or if the child was declared a CHINS. The Committee held the bill for additional consideration.
The House Judiciary Committee heard HB 1029 on adoption history information, authored by Rep. Negele. The bill authorizes a relative of an adoptee or a pre-adoptive sibling to obtain medical history information, and to file a petition to request the release of medical information, non-identifying information, or identifying information. The bill also requires that a petition requesting release of information include the reason why the information is beneficial to an interested person, and that the court appoint a confidential intermediary if certain requirements are met and the petitioner has shown an emergency medical need or good cause relating to the welfare of an interested person. An amendment to the bill was adopted by consent. The amended bill passed, 10-1.
The House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee HB 1041, authored by Rep. Kubacki, adding additional requirements to petitions to modify custody and visitation. Prepared by the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee, this bill provides that if a person files a petition to establish or modify a guardianship, visitation, or child custody, the petition shall include whether the petitioner has been the subject of a DCS investigation, the child has been the subject of a DCS investigation, or the child has been determined to be a child in need of services. The Committee requested that a subcommittee be formed, including Justice Rush and someone from DCS, to clean up the bill to address concerns about confidentiality, false reports, and other unintended consequences.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 105 on child abuse and neglect inquiries. Author Sen. Steele explained that the legislation authorizes any law enforcement employee, judiciary employee, medical doctor or employee of the doctor, or school official may contact the local DCS office to report and inquire about suspected abuse or neglect, rather than use the child abuse hotline. The Public Defender’s Council requested that the public defender and CASA be included in this bill. The bill passed committee 9-0.
The Senate Judiciary Committee heard SB 572, authored by Sen. Head, on child fatality reviews. Sen. Head explained that the legislation provides that local child fatality review teams can have a local team, a regional team, or a memorandum of understanding with a team in another county. This bill returns the control of these teams to the local county, and repeals the current child fatality review team statutes. The data gathered about child deaths would be reported to the State Department of Health. Thirty-eight other states currently have similar systems. The author agreed to offer amendments on second reading to address the Indiana State Medical Association’s HIPPA concerns. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council testified in favor of the bill. The bill passed 9-0.
The House Family, Children and Human Affairs Committee heard HB 1142 on the Department of Child Services (“DCS”), authored by Rep. Mahan. The bill is a result of the Department of Child Services Interim Study Committee. The legislation requires DCS to hire at least 50 family case manager intake specialists, ten family case manager intake specialist supervisors, 80 family case managers and 16 family case manager supervisors by January 1, 2014. The bill also requires all reports of child abuse or neglect received by the centralized call center be forwarded to the local office in the child’s home county for a determination on whether the report will be assigned for an investigation. DCS local office would be required to investigate all reports of child abuse or neglect received from medical personnel; school personnel, social workers, law enforcement personnel, and judiciary personnel. The Committee adopted by consent a technical amendment. The amended bill passed, 12-0, and was recommitted to the House Ways and Means Committee.
The House Family Children and Human Affairs Committee held an informational meeting on the Department of Child Services. David Judkins, Department of Child Services Deputy Director of Field Operations provided the Committee with an overview of the Department of Child Services. Topics discussed included the Department’s mission, vision, values, practice model, staffing and training, child abuse and neglect hotline, and an overview of a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) case.