Parental incarceration

The Senate Committee on Family and Children Services heard HB 1432 sponsored by Senator Young regarding parental incarceration. The bill provides that:

  • a child in need of services (CHINS) case plan must include a description and discussion of the services and treatment available to an incarcerated parent at the facility at which the parent is incarcerated; and how the parent and child may be afforded visitation opportunities, unless visitation with the parent is not in the best interests of the child.
  • requires a CHINS dispositional decree to provide a reasonable opportunity for a parent of the child who is incarcerated and 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.
  • a petition to terminate a parent-child relationship (TPR) may be dismissed if the parent is incarcerated or the parent’s prior incarceration is a significant factor in the child having been under the supervision of the Department of Child Services (DCS) or a county probation department for at least 15 of the most recent 22 months, the parent maintains a meaningful role in the child’s life, and DCS has not documented a reason to conclude that it would otherwise be in the child’s best interests to terminate the parent-child relationship.
  • in determining whether to dismiss a TPR, a court may consider the length of time remaining in an incarcerated parent’s sentence

Amendment #5 was introduced removing Section 1 of the bill that would have required certain information to be included in a child’s case plan concerning services if a parent is incarcerated.  The amendment also fixes a cross-reference to conform with the bill.

Six people testified in support of the bill, including a representative from the Public Defender Council.  The amended bill passed 8-0.

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