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Thursday, July 10, 2014

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court decides one today, involving termination of parental rights

In In re the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.W., a Minor Child, and His Mother, C.C. K.W. v. Indiana Department of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc., a 12-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice David writes:

Court proceedings in which the State seeks to regulate or terminate a parent’s relationship with his or her children are among the most delicate and difficult that judicial officers and attorneys must face. And we have repeatedly emphasized the importance of caution and care in these sorts of cases—from all involved—as the repercussions that flow from them can be devastating to every member of a family.

Here, the State sought to terminate the parental rights of a father and mother whose young child had been removed from their care. On the day of the termination hearing, the mother was incarcerated in a local jail and her attorney sought a continuance until after the mother might be released. The trial court denied this request and held the hearing in the mother’s absence—the end result was the termination of her parental rights with respect to her son. Under the facts and circumstances of this case, we conclude that the denial of the motion for a continuance was an abuse of discretion.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on July 10, 2014 03:49 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions