Family & Juvenile Law

April 5, 2012 | Category: Family/Juvenile

Duty to support a child

S.E.A. 18, P.L. 111-2012

Effective July 1, 2012

Indiana law is amended to provide that the duty to support a child, which does not include support for educational needs, ceases when a child becomes 19 years of age.  Permits a child who is 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, and specifies that a child who is receiving child support in an order issued after July 1, 2012 may petition for educational needs until the child becomes 19 years of age. 


S.E.A. 32, P.L. 115-2012

Effective July 1, 2012

Allows a minor who has not been adjudicated an incapacitated person and the minor’s guardian to jointly petition the court to extend the guardianship beyond the date the minor attains 18 years of age. Authorizes the court to extend the guardianship, but not beyond age 22, for the protected person, if the court finds that extending the guardianship is in the best interests of the protected person.

Study of termination of parental rights in rape cases

S.E.A. 190, P.L. 156-2012

Effective July 1, 2012

The legislative council is urged to assign to the Indiana Child Custody and Support Advisory Committee the task of studying the termination of parenting rights of an individual with a child who was conceived as a result of an act of rape by that individual.

Record of marriage

S.E.A. 249, P.L. 22-2012

Effective July 1, 2012

Provides that a clerk of a circuit court: (1) may forward a record of marriage to the State Department of Health in a paper form or in an electronic form by using an automated system developed by the judicial technology and automation project or another automated system approved by the State Department of Health; and (2) who forwards a record of marriage to the State Department of Health in an electronic form is not required to forward the record of marriage to the State Department of Health in a paper form.

Education concerning child abuse

H.E.A. 267, P.L. 46-2012

Effective July 1, 2012

Requires DOE and DCS to develop educational materials for schools using evidence based models to teach children about reporting child abuse.

Department of Child Services

S.E.A. 286, P.L. 48-2012

Effective July 1, 2012 unless otherwise indicated

The Juvenile Code sections currently requiring the county to pay for placements and services if the correct Title IV-E language is not used in court orders are repealed. The new law requires DCS to notify the Indiana Judicial Center if orders do not contain the statutory Title IV-E language or a risk and needs assessment is not prepared.  This bill also:

  • Requires an initial hearing must be held within 10 days in all cases, whether or not DCS has removed the child from the home;
  • Requires DCS to employ at least two (2) full time employees to assist the ombudsman;
  • Provides that an alleged victim of a battery on a child may submit an application for assistance for victims of violent crime not later than five years after the commission of the offense; the alleged victim of a child sex crime may submit an application for assistance until the victim turns thirty-one years old;
  • Permits DCS to conduct a criminal history check before reunifying the child with a parent, guardian or custodian;
  • Requires a court to order a guardian to provide financial assistance to support a protected person, if DCS approved financial assistance to a guardian for the benefit of the protected person under certain circumstances;
  • Clarifies and amends the definitions of child abuse and neglect; amends the definition of child, guardian ad litem, shelter care and victim of child abuse and neglect;
  • The definition of foster care was amended to include a child living in a licensed placement in another state and the home of an adult relative who is not licensed as a foster family home.  The definition of foster family home was also amended to include a child who is receiving care and supervision under a juvenile court order.  The definition of related, therapeutic foster family home, and transitional services plan were also amended. (Effective March 14, 2012)
  • Requires training for attorney guardian ad litems appropriate for their role in the areas of identification and treatment of child abuse and neglect, early childhood, and child and adolescent development;
  • Creates residential placement review committees to review residential placements to ensure the placement is the least restrictive, most family like and most appropriate setting available and close to the parent’s home, consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child in all CHINS and delinquency cases;
  • Creates permanency roundtables and requires DCS to refer a case to them in order to review all permanency options for any child placed in a child caring institution, group home, or private secure facility.  Requires the permanency roundtable to make recommendations to the court;
  • Permits a person to operate a foster family home without a license if the person is providing care and supervision only for one or more individuals related to the person; (Effective March 14, 2012)
  • Reduces the length of stay under the Emergency Shelter Care statute from 60 to 20 days and permits DCS to grant a waiver of this time limit if the facility applies for the waiver before the expiration of the 20-day period; (Effective March 14, 2012)
  • Creates a new collaborative care youth program which will allow Indiana to receive Title IV-E monies for providing services to older youth in foster care who are at least 18 years old but less than 20 years old. Provides that the juvenile court has jurisdiction over these cases, reviews them every six months, and requires the court to enter findings on the progress made in implementing the collaborative care agreement. (Effective March 14, 2012)
  • Permits youth over 18 to stay in the guardianship assistance program until age 20 and permits the juvenile court to oversee these cases;  (Effective March 14, 2012)
  • Permits DOC to petition a court to reinstate jurisdiction over an older youth for purposes of placement in the collaborative care program; (Effective March 14, 2012)
  • Permits sharing of the outcome of abuse and neglect assessments involving a teacher with the state superintendent of public instruction in addition to the teacher;
  • Makes the audio recording of calls to the child abuse and neglect hotline confidential and may only be released upon court order, however if the report of abuse or neglect is subject to a complaint made to a prosecutor, the audio recording shall be released without a court order to the prosecutor upon written request of the prosecutor; (Effective March 14, 2012)
  • Permits the creation of regional fatality review teams;
  • Requires DCS to establish local child fatality review teams with required and permissive members appointed by the DCS director or designee; Provides the  DCS manager for the region is the chair of the local child fatality review team; Provides data about fatalities is reported to the DCS on forms established by DCS with a requirement DCS report annually on all child fatalities in Indiana; Amends the statewide child fatality review committee statute;
  • Permits sDCS to stay an administrative appeal hearing on a DCS substantiation of a report of abuse or neglect when there is an informal adjustment or criminal proceeding;
  • Removes the requirement that DCS expunge a substantiated report of abuse or neglect after twenty (20) years after a court determines the child is a CHINS.  Requires DCS to expunge abuse or neglect information after 24 years if DCS approved the assessment as unsubstantiated, or the court in a CHINS case, entered a final judgment that the abuse or neglect did not occur.  Permits DCS, upon request of an interested person at any time, to expunge information relating to an unsubstantiated assessment of abuse or neglect, if the DCS determines the probative value of the information does not justify its retention.  Information retained by DCS may be used by DCS to facilitate its assessment of a subsequent report involving the same child or family.  If there is a substantiated report of abuse and neglect in DCS records, the perpetrator may file a petition in juvenile court to request an order directing DCS to expunge the record.  The court shall hold a hearing and based on statutory factors either grant or deny the petition; (Effective March 14, 2012)
  • Requires, rather than permits, the person filing the termination petition to request the court set the petition for a hearing.  Permits persons listed by statute to file a motion to dismiss the petition to terminate parental rights under certain circumstances. Requires a court to hold the fact-finding or dispositional hearing in a CHINS case, or a hearing on the petition to terminate parental rights, within statutory timeframes and provides the penalty for not doing is to require the court dismiss the case with prejudice;
  • Adds “there is a reasonable probability that the injury was not accidental” to the list of factors which create a rebuttable presumption the child is a CHINS;
  • Permits the use of videotape testimony of a child in DCS administrative appeal hearings involving DCS substantiation of abuse or neglect or foster home license revocation proceedings;
  • Requires DCS to include reasons in the petition to dismiss a TPR case if DCS intends to file such a motion;
  • Permits certain persons, not just a party, to file a motion to dismiss the petition to terminate parental rights;
  • A reference in the Interstate Compact on Juveniles is corrected to require DCS to pay for the return of runaways under both the old and new Interstate Compact on Juveniles;
  • Requires DCS to only make payments for group homes and residential facilities under contract with DCS unless the child services are recommended or approved by DCS or designee in writing prior to the placement;
  • Repeals the requirement that DCS provide certain reports to the Indiana General Assembly;
  • Creates an interim study committee on underserved youth with mental health issues to study whether the prosecuting attorney should be allowed to file CHINS Section 6 petitions, and the unmet mental health needs of children in the juvenile justice system.  This committee’s charge expires December 31, 2013; and,
  • Creates the DCS interim study committee to review and study progress and improvement made by DCS, best practices concerning child welfare, reports from the DCS ombudsman, the DCS abuse and neglect hotline, and make legislative recommendations. This committee’s charge expires December 31, 2013.

Department of Child Services – technical corrections

S.E.A. 287, P.L. 128-2012

Effective July 1, 2012

Enumerates in the statute certain information required by federal law, already included in the paternity affidavit form. Provides that certain Title IV-D fees may be set according to rules adopted by DCS rather than by statute to permit DCS to reduce a fee to a nominal amount rather than spending more money to process the fee and forward it to the federal government. Codifies current DCS practice advising a parent who is voluntarily relinquishing parental rights that the parent’s consent may not be based upon a promise regarding the child’s adoption or contact of any type with the child after the parent voluntarily relinquishes parental rights.  In accordance with In Re A.K., 924 N.E.2d 212, (Ind. Ct. App. 2010), requires a court to enter findings of fact that support the entry of its conclusions granting a termination of parental rights. Indiana’s recently recodified Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children was amended to include further amendments made nationally after the recodification was adopted by Indiana.  Repeals obsolete references and outdated language, aligns Indiana law with federal statutes, clarifies existing Indiana statutes, adds cross references and makes technical corrections.

Court established alcohol and drug services programs, problem solving courts, pro bono legal services filing fee, protection orders – protection order definition

H.E.A. 1049, P.L. 136-2012

Effective July 1, 2012

The definition of family or household member of another person was expanded to include an instance when the individual has adopted a child of the other person.

Military custody and parenting time

H.E.A. 1065, P.L. 55-2012

July 1, 2012

Requires a court, upon motion by a parent who has received military temporary duty, deployment, or mobilization orders to: (1) hold an expedited hearing to determine or modify custody or parenting time; and (2) allow, with reasonable notice, a parent to present testimony and evidence by certain electronic means in a custody or parenting time proceeding under certain circumstances.  Allows a court, upon motion by a parent who has received military deployment orders, to delegate all or a portion of the parent’s parenting time, during the time the parent is deployed to a person who has a close and substantial relationship with the parent’s child if the court determines delegating the time is in the best interests of the child. Provides an order delegating parenting time automatically terminates after the parent returns from deployment and allows the court to terminate this order if the court determines the delegated parenting time is no longer in the best interests of the child.

Other bill of interest:

Education concerning child abuse

S.E.A. 267, P.L. 46-2012