Department of Child Services

S.E.A. 1, P.L. 210
Effective: July 1, 2019

  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-9-2-76.5, the definition of long-term foster parent, providing if the foster parent provided foster care and supervision for at least twelve (12) of the most recent months, at least fifteen (15) of the most recent twenty-two (22) months, or if the child was under twelve (12) months of age, for at least six (6) months.
  • Adds Ind. Code § 31-10-2-2 to indicate all decisions made by DCS or the courts shall be made in consideration of the best interests of the child or children concerned.
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-19-2-7 to provide when an adoption occurs for a person over the age of eighteen years of age, medical information is not required to be filed along with or after a petition for adoption.
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-19-9-10 to indicate a court shall determine that consent to adoption is not required from the parent if the parent is convicted of crimes in another state that are substantially similar to certain crimes defined by statute in Indiana.
  • Adds Ind. Code § 31-25-6 to require DCS operate a 24/7 hotline for family case managers for the purpose of providing access to assistance in finding a relative, foster or other suitable placement for a child.
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-27-4-8 to add a provision which provides waiver of the maximum number of children in a foster home, if a child is being placed in the foster family home for a second or subsequent time, placement would not cause the foster family home to be out of compliance with federal law, and DCS determines the placement would not present a safety risk for the child or any other resident of the foster family.
  • Adds Ind. Code § 31-32-2.5 to provide a foster parent, a long-term foster parent, or a person who was a foster parent may petition to intervene as a party in any stage of a CHINS or termination of parental rights proceeding. A person subject of a substantiated report of child abuse or neglect or convicted of a nonwaivable offense may not petition the court. The court may deny the petition with or without a hearing unless certain circumstances exist.
    • In a CHINS proceeding, if the petition is filed by a long-term foster parent, and a termination petition was filed; the petitioner filed an adoption petition; or if the permanency plan no longer includes reunification; the court shall hold a hearing before granting or denying a petition to intervene.
    • If a petition to intervene is filed in a termination of parental rights proceeding by a long-term foster parent, the court shall hold a hearing before a court may grant or deny a petition under the chapter.
    • The court shall grant a petition to intervene under this chapter if the intervention is in the best interests of the child.
  • Adds Ind. Code § 31-34-12-8 to provide a court may find a child is not a CHINS under Ind. Code § 31-34-1-1 if the court finds, by credible evidence presented by the child’s parent, guardian or custodian, that the parent, guardian, or custodian is financially unable to provide food, clothing, or shelter, and that the parent, guardian or custodian has not failed, refused, or demonstrated an inability to seek financial or other means to do so. [Note: See HEA 1006, last section, which amends the definition of CHINS under Ind. Code § 31-34-1-1]
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-34-18-2 to require DCS to make diligent efforts to identify all adult relatives and adult siblings who may be considered as out of home placements if DCS or a caseworker believes the child should be removed.
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-34-18-6.1 to require a description of the due diligence efforts made by DCS to identify all adult relatives of the child be included in the predispositional report.
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-34-19-7 to require the court to order DCS to continue due diligence efforts to identify all adult relatives and siblings of the child until the child has been in an out of home placement for at least twelve (12) months.
  • Requires, under Ind. Code § 31-34-21-4, that DCS and the Office of Judicial Administration shall collaborate, with input from foster parents and other stakeholders, on the creation of a foster parent reporting form which can be used to provide written testimony to the court. DCS shall post the form on their website. Foster parents are not required to use this specific form to submit written testimony.
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-34-21-4.5 to remove previous foster parent intervention language and repeals Ind. Code § 31-34-21-4.6, which contained the previous long-term foster parent definition.
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-34-22-1 to require DCS shall include any information and recommendations obtained from foster parents as part of a case review report. In addition, if the child was removed from the home for less than twelve (12) months, the report shall include an explanation of DCS ongoing efforts to identify all adult relatives and adult siblings of the child who may be considered for out-of-home placement.
  • Adds Ind. Code § 31-34-23-5 to provide that if a child is returned to their home in a CHINS proceeding, then placed back into an out-of-home placement, the court and DCS shall make a reasonable attempt to place the child in the previous out-of-home placement if appropriate and in the best interests of the child.
  • Amends Ind. Code § 31-35-2-4.5 to provide a foster parent, relative of the child, or a de facto custodian with whom the child has been placed for more than six (6) months, may file a notice to the court indicating that the child has been placed out of home for more than 15 of the previous 22 months, and a TPR petition has not been filed. Upon filing the notice, the court shall schedule a hearing within thirty (30) days unless termination has been filed.
  • Adds a new noncode section to require the DCS and Office of Judicial Administration to report to the General Assembly on efforts to provide training and technical assistance to DCS staff and juvenile judges on foster parents’ statutory right to be heard.

Read the bill at: http://iga.in.gov/legislative/2019/bills/senate/1