When the government gets a report that a child has been abused or neglected, it is required to open an investigation. Reports can be made by police officers, school personnel, doctors, and ordinary citizens.
The Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) does not need your permission to visually or physically examine your children, interview them, or take them into protective custody. If you learn that DCS is investigating a complaint about your children, take immediate steps to secure legal counsel. Everything you tell a DCS caseworker can be used against you. Nothing you say to DCS is confidential from the Court. It’s important to retain an attorney before you talk to anyone from DCS. Do not try to block the caseworker’s access to your child, but understand that you can demand the right to have your attorney present for your own interview.
If DCS concludes that a child is in danger, it has two options: (1) enter into a settlement contract with the parents (called an “Informal Adjustment” or “IA”) or file a Children In Need of Services (“CHINS”) petition.
Sometimes, a parent in a divorce or paternity case will make a child abuse report in an effort to gain an advantage in the case. That is a bad idea, unless abuse is actually occurring. Making a false child abuse report is against the law.
How We Help
Jennifer Bays Beinart is an experienced CHINS litigator, with significant experience helping clients navigate the DCS investigative process. Jennifer provides compassionate advice and passionate advocacy for parents and other persons involved in child abuse/neglect investigations or CHINS cases. She takes the time to carefully listen to you, in order to understand your individual circumstances. She will give you the legal information and advice necessary to make the best decisions.