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Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Ind. Gov't. - "Advocates urge Legislature to return 'safety net' to law relating to children"

Supplementing this ILB entry from yesterday, and this one, Marisa Kwiatkowski of the NWI Times reports today that:

Representatives from the Indiana Prosecuting Attorneys Council, Indiana Public Defender Council and Indiana State Bar Association testified Monday about the need to give prosecutors back the ability to file child in need of services 6 petitions, also known as CHINS 6, that claim a child is a danger to himself or herself.

Prosecutors lost the ability to file CHINS petitions in 2008 after a change in state law. The Indiana Department of Child Services is the only entity that can file such petitions.

DCS spokeswoman Stephanie McFarland previously said the 2008 changes were designed to have prosecutors and DCS work within their areas of expertise. She contended legislators also took away DCS' ability to file criminal cases.

JauNae Hanger, chairperson of the Civil Rights of Children Committee for the Indiana State Bar Association, said giving the authority back to prosecutors would ensure there is a "safety net" for children who need court intervention in order to secure services. Ideally, they would receive needed mental health services without the court.

Larry Landis, executive director of the Indiana Public Defender Council, said prosecutors need the ability to file CHINS 6 petitions in case other efforts fail.

"The issues really comes down to this: Do you think we need checks and balances or not?" Landis said. "We think we do."

This was the Commission on Mental Health and Addiction, here is yesterday's agenda.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on September 18, 2012 09:43 AM
Posted to Indiana Government