Parental incarceration

The House Committee on Family, Children and Human Affairs heard HB 1432 authored by Rep. Macer on parental incarceration.  The bill as introduced:

  • Provides that a parent who is incarcerated must be allowed to participate in person in child in need of services (CHINS) proceedings regarding the parent’s child.
  • Provides that a CHINS case plan must include a description and discussion of: (1) services and treatment available to an incarcerated parent at the facility at which the parent is incarcerated, and (2) how the parent and child will be afforded visitation opportunities, unless visitation with the parent is not in the best interest of the child.
  • Requires a CHINS dispositional decree to provide a reasonable opportunity for a parent of the child who: (1) is incarcerated; and (2) has maintained a meaningful role in the child’s life, to maintain a relationship with the child, subject to the safety of the community and best interests of the child.
  • Provides factors a court may consider in deciding whether an incarcerated parent is maintaining a meaningful role in the child’s life.
  • Provides for circumstances under which a petition to terminate the parent-child relationship between a child and an incarcerated parent of the child may be dismissed.

The bill was amended to remove all provisions of the bill other than:

  • Provisions regarding the contents of the case plan of a child in need of services whose parent is incarcerated;
  • Provisions requiring the dispositional decree of a child in need of services to provide reasonable opportunity for an incarcerated parent who has maintained a meaningful role in the child’s life to maintain a meaningful relationship with the child; and
  • Provisions regarding circumstances under which a petition to terminate a parent-child relationship of an incarcerated parent may be dismissed.
  • Provides that the case plan of a child in need of services whose parent is incarcerated must include provisions regarding how the incarcerated parent may (rather than will) be afforded visitation opportunities.
  • Makes a technical amendment to correct an internal reference.

Four people testified in support of the bill. The amended bill passed 12-0.

Read the bill at:  http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/house/1432