Thursday, February 21, 2013

2013 Indiana Senate Bill 164 CHINS Petition - Legislation Part 30

Senators Holdman and Broden have offered a bill that appears on track to become law. SB0164 allows a prosecuting attorney to request a juvenile court to authorize the filing of a child in need of services [ChiNS] petition. This bill restores authority for local prosecutors to file a CHiNS as was the law prior to 2007. HB1129 is the companion bill in the House.

Senate Bill 0164 affects the following citations: IC 31-34-9-1. The synopsis is as follows:
Child in need of services petitions. Allows a prosecuting attorney to request a juvenile court to authorize the filing of a petition alleging that a child is a child in need of services, and allows a prosecuting attorney to represent the interests of the state in the child in need of services proceeding. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the department of child services interim study committee.)

The trigger for this bill was an issue raised by a GAL in Illinois where anyone can file a CHiNS. The bill is not an attempt to replace DCS in the capacity of filing CHiNS petitions but offers a redundancy when DCS may not have at first seen a need to file a CHiNS.

During a committee hearing David Powell, Director of the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, testified as to circumstances in which a prosecutor may better serve children by filing a CHiNS. He stated that prosecutors when unable to file a CHiNS but faced with a disruptive child who may have mental health issues had to instead file a delinquency petition. Powell does not believe that is in the best interest of the children and should not be the public policy of the State of Indiana to leave these at-risk children with the alternative of being either charged as a delinquent or not having the issue addressed.

While numerous parents have viewed CHiNS cases as usurping their parental authority and an attempt to take their children away, that is not the statutory intention of the CHiNS scheme. CHiNS filings are meant to ensure that the child is receiving needed support and services. However, in practice agencies and their employees have been pressured to remove children from their parents as that is one of the measures for funding. Parents and advocates need to be vigilant to ensure that agency actions conform with the agenda of providing services for the child while maintaining family cohesion.

On 05 February 2013 this bill passed through the Senate on third reading by a vote of 49-0. Senator Zakas was excused from voting.

If your child is the subject of a CHiNS action or a custody dispute and you wish to best position yourself for the proceedings then please visit my website and contact my scheduler to make an appointment to meet with me.

If you would like to follow my activities more closely then send a friend request to my Political FaceBook page.

Subscribe to this blawg.

More information about child custody rights and procedures may be found on the Indiana Custodial Rights Advocates website.

©2008, 2013 Stuart Showalter, LLC. Permission is granted to all non-commercial entities to reproduce this article in it's entirety with credit given.

No comments: