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Indiana’s Child Welfare System Still Battling Failure 

Giles Bruce looked into the issues that are causing Indiana’s state-wide child welfare system to routinely fail. The main issue with the child welfare system in the state is the constant tearing apart of families based on poverty instead of neglect. As a result, Indiana has one of the highest family separation rates in the country. Adding to this, a new lawsuit filed by Marcia Lowry, founder of A Better Childhood, has the potential to further deteriorate the already faulty system.

This is not the first time Ms. Lowry has filed a similar suit against a child welfare agency. Her organization is known for filing these suits throughout the United States. The concern with the suit is that it may ultimately make the system even worse, instead of helping make it better.  These suits often end with years upon years of micromanagement which bloat already dysfunctional systems and the final result is a significantly denigrated child welfare operation. 

In the suit Ms. Lowry filed against the Indiana Department of Child Services, there is an acknowledgment of the department’s missteps with regard to the households from which children are removed. However, it explains that this is not the main problem with the system. Instead, the real issue is that Indiana is not taking away enough children from their families and they are not keeping these children away from families for the long-term. 

As such, the issue of inappropriately taking children away from families on the basis that they are in poverty, as opposed to taking them away from families that have serious neglect problems, is overburdening the system with false allegations and inappropriate situations. This stranglehold on the system is spreading caseworkers’ time too thin. As a result, it is impossible for agents at the department to properly investigate each case that comes in. Those children that are really needing assistance slip through the cracks.

Actions Called for by the Suit

The suit makes a call for an increase in the number of caseworkers that are hired as well as an increase in the number of foster parents. In addition, it indicates a need to terminate parental rights at a quicker pace. What it does not call for is finding a solution to the improper removals that are occurring at such a high rate.  

Lowery has admitted that she is not sure about what the actual problem is with the state’s system, and this may be the heart of the problem with her suit. This also explains why her suits across the country in Michigan, Tennessee, and Georgia have not improved faulty systems, but rather made them worse.

Alabama’s Model

The Bazelon Center for Mental Health Law sued Alabama and the result was profound. The system was rebuilt and has a primary focus on safe, proven options that work better than foster care. The system in the state of Alabama became a sort of gold standard for the rest of the nation to follow. If Indiana proceeds with a settlement from Ms. Lowry’s suit that actually addresses the issues and restructures, as Alabama did, the results have a chance to improve the system, not continue to worsen it.

Finding a Child Custody Lawyer in Indiana

Child custody is an emotional issue and it is extremely critical that the right decisions are made for the best welfare of our children. When you are battling through a child custody situation, there is no room for mistakes. Christopher L. Arrington, P.C. can help represent you and the best interests of your child effectively. I am an experienced and resourceful Danville child custody lawyer.   

I have tremendous compassion for the seriousness of child custody situations and will fight diligently on your behalf. Call my Danville child custody law firm at 317-745-4494 today and set up a time to meet and discuss your specific circumstances and needs.

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