Family & Juvenile Law

February 6, 2015 | Category: Family/Juvenile

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard SB 364, concerning Department of Child Service Reporting, authored by Sen. Broden and Sen. Grooms.  The chair presented the bill, which amends the definition of “near fatality” for confidential records purposes involving such cases.  The new definition means a severe childhood injury or condition that results in a child receiving critical care for at least 24 hours following admission to a critical care unit.  An amendment was presented to maintain the confidentiality of police records in a near fatality investigation and adopted by consent.  The Department of Child Services testified regarding some concerns with the proposed amended definition and its expansion of covered cases.  The current definition is consistent with the federal definition and carries specific reporting requirements for the state.  If the definition conflicts with federal laws, then funding could be placed in jeopardy. The Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council and the Hoosier State Press Association testified in support of the amended bill. The bill was held for further consideration.

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard SB 485 concerning psychiatric crisis intervention authored by Sens. Crider and Becker. The bill amends the date for FSSA to report on comprehensive psychiatric crisis intervention services and requires DMHA to establish a psychiatric crisis intervention pilot program in at least 3 locations in rural and urban areas.  DMHA is also responsible for evaluating the pilot programs based on recidivism, sustainability, resource investment, cost effectiveness, clinical outcomes, ability to provide 24-hour walk-in crisis services, and ability to provide mental health and substance use disorder inpatient services. The bill also requests appropriations for these programs. Those testifying in favor included: Executive VP of Behavioral Health with Community Health Network; doctor and Director of Operations for Community Health Network; Criminal Justice Director for NAMI; Indiana Community Mental Health Center Network; Mental Health America of Indiana; VP Indiana Hospital Association; and the Indiana Psychological Association. The bill passed 6-0 and was recommitted to the Appropriations Committee.

The Senate Family and Children Services Committee heard Sen. Zakas’ SB 564 concerning the waiting period for dissolution of marriage. The bill extends the waiting period to 180 days for a final hearing if there are children of the marriage that are less than 17 years old, and extends the waiting period to 120 days if an objection to the dissolution is filed by either party. The bill maintains the 60-day waiting period if either party to the dissolution matter asserts that the other party engaged in domestic violence against the petitioning party or the party’s child.  An amendment was adopted by consent that would require the assertion of domestic violence to be made under oath or affirmation and the asserted violence could be against either party to the dissolution in addition to the children. After taking supporting testimony and hearing the concerns from the Indiana State Bar Association Family and Juvenile Law section, the bill was held for further consideration until the next meeting.

The House Judiciary heard HB 1196 concerning CHINS and delinquent child dual jurisdiction.  Author Rep. McNamara presented the legislation requiring the intake officer to screen for a dual jurisdiction child. The Committee adopted an amendment outlining the dual jurisdiction process and clarifying the process could be utilized both before and after adjudication. Once screened, the court decides if the juvenile should be fully assessed as a dual jurisdiction child.  The dual jurisdiction assessment team would recommend to the court services and supervision for the child. The court would then determine the lead agency (DCS or probation) for the child.  Judge Mary Willis, President of the Indiana Council of Juvenile and Family Court Judges, spoke in favor of the bill. She gave examples when it would be useful and noted it embraced the vision and builds on the JDAI initiative. Judge Charles Pratt, Co-Chair of the Dual Jurisdiction Task Force, Commission on Improving the Status of Children also spoke in favor of the legislation and noted it is based on national reform models already in existence.  The program coordinates services for both CHINS and delinquents. Larry Landis, Indiana Public Defender’s Council and David Powell, Indiana Prosecuting Attorney’s Council also spoke in favor of the bill. The bill passed as amended, 8-0.

The House Courts and Criminal Code Committee heard HB 1304 on various criminal law issues for juveniles. Since Representative McMillin was still working on additional amendments, only two of the four of the amendments heard the previous week were adopted by consent of the committee. The amendment permitting use of Vivitrol and the amendment broadening the definition of “runaway” to include leaving a specific location designated by a parent, guardian or custodian in addition to leaving home without consent were adopted by voice vote. The bill was held for further amendment.