Termination of Parental Rights Reversed

Statement of the Case

E.B. (“Mother”) appeals the termination of the parental relationship with her children, A.A.D. (“A.A.D.”) and A.C.D. (“A.C.D.”).
The gravamen of her argument is that reversible error occurred when the trial court failed to ensure the appointment of a court-appointed special advocate (“CASA”) to represent the interests of her children in the termination hearing as required by INDIANA
CODE § 31-35-2-7. Because Mother is correct, we reverse and remand with instructions for the trial court to ensure the appointment of a CASA.  We reverse and remand with instructions.

Issue

The dispositive issue is whether reversible error occurred when the trial court failed to ensure the appointment of a CASA to
represent the interests of Mother’s two children.

Facts

Mother and Father are the parents of A.A.D., who was born in March 2009, and A.C.D., who was born in August 2015. When A.C.D. was born, his meconium tested positive for marijuana. He was also suffering withdrawal symptoms from Suboxone, which Mother had taken while she was pregnant. The Department of Child Services (“DCS”) removed six-year-old A.A.D. and A.C.D. from their parents, and both children were adjudicated to be Children in Need of Services (“CHINS”). In October 2015, the trial court ordered Mother to participate in substance abuse treatment, home-based case management services, and individual therapy. Mother was also ordered to remain drug and alcohol free and to maintain stable housing and employment to meet the needs of her family.

Read the entire opinion here.

Randall Parr is an Indianapolis attorney.  He represents families and individuals who are faced with possible Termination of Parental Rights and CHINS (Child in Need of Services) actions initiated by the Department of Child Services.  Contact him here. 

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