Mothers Of Lost Children – Indiana

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New Report Released: Indiana Earns a Failing Grade When it Comes to the Rights of Abused Children

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No surprises here.  Abused children are ushered into the grips of abusers by guardians ad litem frequently in Indiana, particularly in child custody cases.  Abuse is not taken seriously here, and it is the children who pay dearly.  Guardians ad litem get free reign to do this, and this needs to be changed!


Most States Fail to Protect Children’s Rights

A report to be released today says that most U.S. states do not adequately protect the rights of abused and neglected children, most notably by failing to provide these children with appointed counsel to represent their interests.

The report grades each state and the District of Columbia on how well they protect the legal rights of abused and neglected children in juvenile court proceedings. Only two states earned a grade of A+: Connecticut and Massachusetts. Twenty-nine states were given grades of C or lower. The lowest grade of F was given to seven states: Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Indiana, Maine and North Dakota.

The peer-reviewed study, “A Child’s Right to Counsel: A National Report Card on Legal Representation for Abused and Neglected Children,” was conducted by two child-advocacy organizations, First Star and the Children’s Advocacy Institute at the University of San Diego School of Law. The full report is scheduled to be released today at 1 p.m. in a news
conference at the U.S. Capitol Building.

In addition to the grades mentioned above, the report graded other states as follows:

* A: Iowa, Louisiana, Maryland, Mississippi, New Mexico, New York, Oklahoma, Vermont and West Virginia.

* B: California, Kansas, New Jersey, North Carolina, Ohio, Oregon, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Texas and Wyoming.

* C: Alabama, Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, Nebraska, Nevada, South Carolina, Utah, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.

* D: Arizona, Georgia, Illinois, Kentucky, Missouri, New Hampshire, South Dakota and Washington.

Key factors the study looked at in assigning grades were whether state law mandates the appointment of attorneys for children in dependency proceedings; whether these attorneys represent the children in a client-directed manner; whether the representation continues throughout the case, including appeal; whether states provide attorneys with specialized training; whether the child is given the legal status of a party to the proceedings; and whether rules pertaining to confidentiality and immunity from liability apply to attorneys representing these
children.

As a sidebar note from the report section on Indiana:

Indiana code provides, except in cases of gross misconduct, ―immune[ity] from any civil liability that may occur as a result of that person‘s performance during the time that the person is acting within the duties of the [GAL]‖ (Burns Ind. Code § 31-32-3-10). This civil immunity provision applies only to individuals acting as a guardian ad litem or CASA whether or not they are attorneys. If an individual is appointed as an attorney for a child and not as a guardian ad litem, they are covered by the Rules of Professional Conduct and do not receive civil immunity.

Well, there you have it.  Indiana pretty much give a free pass to guardians ad litem to do whatever damage they can do to a child and the child’s family members, just as long as their buddies don’t find it to be “gross misconduct.”

Yes, Indiana deserves an F.  They’ve worked very hard to earn it.

To download this report, A Child’s Right to Counsel: A National Report Card on Legal Representation for Abused & Neglected Children,” please click here.

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