Due Process in CHINS Adjudications

In re T.M. (Ind. March 13, 2012) and In re K.D. (Ind. March 13, 2012)

These companion cases addressed the procedural due process safeguards required in CHINS cases. Specifically, the cases held that parents who request a contested fact-finding hearing have a constitutional due process right to such a hearing. A CHINS adjudication is a necessary step before the Department of Child Services can bring an action to terminate a person’s parental rights. The Supreme Court held that if one parent wishes to admit that a child is in need of services and the other parent wishes to deny such a need, the trial court is required to conduct a fact-finding hearing. A contested dispositional hearing is not sufficient.

These holdings are very straightforward. However, they are also very important and clarify parents’ due process rights regarding proceedings that could lead to the termination of their parental rights. These cases are very important for anyone who practices family law at the trial court level or is appealing a decision regarding a CHINS adjudication or termination of parental rights.

One interesting aspect is whether these cases are retroactive and, if so, what effect the holdings have on situations where a parent’s parental rights have already been terminated following a CHINS adjudication where that parent was denied a fact-finding hearing. At first glance, it seems that parents who have or are in the process of losing their parental rights after being denied a fact-finding hearing may have some recourse based on these decisions.

Barrett McNagny LLP

Legal Disclaimer

The information contained in the Barrett McNagny LLP website is for informational purposes only and should not be considered legal advice on any subject matter. Furthermore, the information contained on our website may not reflect the most current legal developments. You should not act upon this information without consulting legal counsel.

Your transmission and receipt of information on the Barrett McNagny LLP website, or sending an e-mail to one of our attorneys or staff, will not create an attorney-client relationship between you and Barrett McNagny LLP. If you need legal advice and want to establish an attorney-client relationship with Barrett McNagny LLP, please contact one of our attorneys by telephone, email, or other means of communication, and allow the attorney to confirm that the firm does not represent other persons or entities involved in the matter and that the firm is willing to accept representation. Until such confirmation is provided by one of our attorneys, you should not transmit information to us that you consider confidential. If you do provide information to us, and no attorney-client relationship is established, the information will not be considered confidential or privileged, and our receipt of such information will not preclude us from representing another client in a matter adverse to you.

Any links to other websites are not intended to be referrals or endorsements of those sites.

Privacy Policy

Terms of Use

ADA Compliance

Transparency Cover Rule: Machine-Readable Files

Contact Us
My name is
and I am a(n)
seeking legal counsel in the area of 
me at
as soon as you can.

Thank you for contacting us!

A representative will be in touch with you shortly.

An attorney-client relationship will NOT be formed merely by sending an email to Barrett McNagny, LLP or to any of its attorneys. Please do not send any information specific to your legal needs until you obtain approval from a Barrett McNagny, LLP attorney, as the content of such email will not be considered confidential or privileged. By sending us an email, you confirm your understanding of this notification. If you agree, you may use the e-mail links on this page to contact an attorney.