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Thursday, August 20, 2015

Ind. Decisions - Supreme Court issues one opinion today, reversing termination of Father's parental rights

In In Re the Involuntary Term. of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.E., a Minor Child, and His Father, J.E., and His Mother, S.S. v. Ind. Dept. of Child Services, a 17-page, 5-0 opinion, Justice David writes:

As this Court has recognized, incarceration is an insufficient basis for terminating parental rights. See e.g. In Re G.Y., 904 N.E.2d 1257, 1264-66 (Ind. 2009). In the present case, Father made extensive efforts to better himself by learning parenting skills, addressing his problems with substance abuse, and establishing a bond with both of his children. We accept transfer in this case and hold that there was insufficient evidence to demonstrate a reasonable probability that Father could not remedy the conditions for removal or that Father poses a threat to K.E.’s well-being. Accordingly, we reverse the trial court’s order terminating Father’s parental rights. * * *

Without clear and convincing evidence to support each of the factors set out in Indiana Code § 31-35-2-4(b), we cannot terminate a parent-child relationship. As such, we reverse the trial court’s order terminating Father’s parental rights.8 Our holding does not impact the underlying CHINS proceedings as to K.E. The orders entered in the underlying CHINS proceeding for K.E., lower court cause number 82D01-1211-JC-459, will remain in effect.

Posted by Marcia Oddi on August 20, 2015 03:31 PM
Posted to Ind. Sup.Ct. Decisions