The state has responded to a lawsuit that seeks to require Indiana to provide lawyers for young people involved in cases where children have been removed from their homes. It says more attorneys are not the answer.
A national child advocacy group filed the suit in February. It claims Indiana is denying the constitutional rights of Hoosier children because they aren’t given legal representation in cases where they’ve been taken from their home because of abuse or neglect.
The Indiana Department of Child Services and judges from three counties are defendants in the case. In a motion to dismiss, they say they are following Indiana code.
The plaintiffs say attorneys are needed to advocate for a child’s wishes. Currently court volunteers advise what they think is best for the child they work with.
Data from the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Kid Count shows Indiana courts declared more than 29,000 Hoosier children to be a Child in Need of Services in 2017.