2014 JDAI Indiana Inter-Site Conference – Indianapolis

On July 22-23, 2014, stakeholders, service providers, and juvenile justice advocates and experts will meet for the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative (JDAI) Indiana Inter-Site Conference in Indianapolis.  All of the existing counties and those who are currently being added to the JDAI project — nineteen counties total with up to ten stakeholders from each county — were invited to participate in the training.  The information needs and questions of the diverse participants will be addressed through breakout sessions and opportunities to network with others in a similar role in the court system (prosecutors, probation, public defenders, law enforcement, education, etc.).

If you are following this blog on Twitter, look for some live tweets during the event!

For more about JDAI, see these prior posts:

The post 2014 JDAI Indiana Inter-Site Conference – Indianapolis was first posted on the Indiana Juvenile Justice Blog.


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Identifying a Brainwashed Child in Family Law Cases

The American Bar Association, Section of Family Law, has published Child Held Hostage: Identifying Brainwashed Children, Presenting a Case and Crafting Solutions (2nd Edition) by Stanley S. Clawar and Brynne V. Rivlin.  The book focuses on how children may be influenced in their testimony in court or during interviews with mental health experts during divorce proceedings, but these issues of parental influence are often present in CHINS and juvenile delinquency cases as well.

For additional information on children testifying in court, particularly during CHINS proceedings, see Working with the Courts in Child Protection, Chapter 7, Going to Court by William G. Jones, Office of Child Abuse and Neglect (2006).

The post Identifying a Brainwashed Child in Family Law Cases first appeared on the Indiana Juvenile Justice Blog.

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Legal Careers and “The Subtle Tyranny of the Word BALANCE”

A few months ago, I participated in a legal professions class for first-year law students as they begin to explore the career paths in this very difficult legal market.  Near the end of the period, one brave soul asked the panel how we find balance given all that we do in our legal careers.  I laughed out loud.  In my opinion, too often we are sending these young students the message that their lives have to be a divided pie with each wedge carefully sized and devoted to important parts in their overall lives.  I told them that I do not understand the message that 14% of my life must be devoted to skiing or whatever to find true happiness and “balance.”  There are times when my life is nothing but the law, with a little tiny wedge for sleep and basic grooming.  There are other times, when the proportions shift to include more time for family, friends, adventures, and artistic endeavors.  I think the point is to be fluid and make time when the opportunities arise for other, non-legal wedges.  Obviously, as I have posted on many times, if you are struggling and overwhelmed, reach out to the Judges and Lawyers Assistance Program (JLAP).

The following message posted on the Facebook page of the author Elizabeth Gilbert resonated about “balance:”

Against BALANCE…

Dear Ones -

The other night at my event in St Paul, a young woman asked me about how I achieve balance in my life.

First of all, I love that she thinks I have achieved balance in my life!

Secondly, I felt the need to speak out once more against the subtle tyranny of the word BALANCE, which I think haunts and punishes modern women more and more every day.

We are constantly being told that we should be achieving balance — that we should somehow exquisitely be negotiating the relationships between our work lives, our home lives, our romantic lives, our health and well-being, our spiritual selves. You can’t read an interview with a famous woman these days that the journalist does not applaud her for having achieved BALANCE….and then if you turn the pages of that magazine, you will find ten more articles showing how you can achieve balance. too!

Be careful.

The word BALANCE has tilted dangerously close, I fear, to the word PERFECT — another word that women use as weapons against themselves and each other.

To say that someone has found the secret to a balanced life is to suggest that they have solved life, and that they now float through their days in a constant state of grace and ease, never suffering stress, ambivalence, confusion, exhaustion, anger, fear, or regret. Which is a wonderful description of nobody, ever.

Balance, when we do find it, is a breathtakingly temporary condition. We stand upon a world that spins at 2000 miles an hour. Our minds, meanwhile, spin at 200,000 miles an hour. We collide every day with other humans who are also sliding and spinning wildly. The landscape of our lives, therefore, changes by the minute. You find your balance one day and think, “Hooray! I have solved it” and then five minutes later the world utterly transforms again, and you’re knocked on your ass one more time.

That’s just how life is on this planet — messy, fast, out of control, unpredictable. It’s all terribly interesting, but also terribly unstable.

That being the case, I dropped the myth of BALANCE a long time ago. (I buried it right next to PERFECT.) My life seems happiest — as I tried to explain to this young woman the other night — when I just surrender to the madness, and embrace the glorious mess that I am…and also when I embrace the glorious mess that everyone else is, and the glorious mess of the world itself. My life gets the most painful when I try to set the entire mess (myself other people, life itself) into order.

The world is like a dropped pie most of the time. Don’t kill yourself trying to put it back together. Just grab a fork and eat some of it off the floor. Then carry on.

If you can get some stuff done in the chaos sometimes, god bless you. If you can basically hold it together, propping yourself up with duct tape and glue, rock on. If you can manage stay upright even one hour a day, you’re doing pretty great, as far as I’m concerned. And if you can be kind to the other stumbling fools around you half the time — well, that’s just heroic.

Basically, I think we are all just sloppy stupendous champions.



(Thanks so my cousin, JuLee, for this idea.)  The post Legal Careers and “The Subtle Tyranny of the Word BALANCE” first appeared on the Indiana Juvenile Justice Blog.

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Two New TPR Cases Involving Incarceration

Over the last few years, there have been several termination of parental rights (TPR) cases published by the Indiana appellate courts involving incarcerated parents.  Two more were added to the list in July 2014:

In the Matter of the Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of: Z.C., Minor Child, and S.C., Mother v. Indiana Department of Child Services (7/11/2014, Ind.Ct.App.).  Z.C.  (“the child”) was born with controlled substances in his bloodstream and S.C. (“the mother”) admitted to using several drugs while pregnant.  Before the child was released from the hospital, the mother was arrested and incarcerated on federal drug charges.  The mother remained incarcerated throughout the CHINS and TPR cases, had never had exclusive physical custody of the child or an older child, and misrepresented the identity of the putative father to the court for several months.  The sentencing date and length of sentence for the federal criminal case were unknown at the time of the TPR hearing, but the mother’s attorney stated that the sentence would be ten years unless renegotiated.  That evidence supported the conclusion that the conditions that resulted in the child’s removal from the mother’s custody would not be remedied.

In RE the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of K.W., a Minor Child, and His Mother, C.C. v. Indiana Department of Child Services and Child Advocates, Inc., (7/10/14 Ind.).  The Court has “repeatedly emphasized the importance of caution and care in these sorts of cases — from all involved — as the repercussions that flow from them can be devastating to every member of a family.”  Here, the mother’s attorney requested a continuance of the TPR hearing because the mother was incarcerated in the local jail, but due to be released in a  few days.  The court denied the request for continuance and ordered that her parental rights be terminated.  The Court found that the denial of the motion for a continuance was an abuse of discretion under the facts and circumstances of the case.

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Cross Systems Youth Task Force Evaluating Practice Model

When the Cross Systems Youth Task Force of the Commission on Proving the Status of Children met on April 24, 2014, representatives from the Casey Family Programs (CFP) met to discuss the crossover youth practice model advocated by CFP.  The practice model is detailed at the Georgetown Center for Juvenile Justice Reform.  There is also a Multi-system Integration Certificate Program that focuses on policies, programs, and practices related to cross-over youth.  Applications for this certificate program are due on July 25, 2014.  According to the posted draft minutes from the April 24, 2014, meeting, the CFP practice model was to be discussed in greater detail at the June 26, 2014, meeting.  No minutes have been posted for that meeting as of the date of this post.

Additional resources about cross-over youth include:

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Planning For and Responding to a Mental Health Crisis

National Alliance on Mental Illness (NAMI Indiana) has published Planning For and Responding to a Mental Health Crisis (3rd edition).  It is a useful tool to become familiar with terms that may be used during a crisis, making a plan for what to do if a crisis arises, and what options are available in various communities across the state.  Although the booklet is largely targeted at adults with mental illness, the concepts are applicable to juveniles also.

NAMI Indiana operates a telephone support line (information here).  There are also NAMI Indiana affiliates across the State (contact information available here).

The post Planning for and Responding to a Mental Health Crisis was first published on the Indiana Juvenile Justice Blog.

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Keeping “High-Need” Youth in the Community

The Youth Advocate Programs Policy & Advocacy Center released Safely Home by Shaena M. Fazal.  Safely Home highlights research findings and programs from around the country that are taking a community-based approach to providing rehabilitative services to youth.  The paper argues that:

  1. “A lack of effective alternatives for high need youth contributes to youth incarceration,”
  2. “Virtually anything that can be done in an institution can be done better in the community,”
  3. “Systems can redirect institutional dollars toward less expensive community programs,”
  4. “Communities can’t climb out of poverty, neighborhood violence, and other risk factors through incarceration, especially of their youth,”
  5. “Community-based programs that provide the right amount of intensity can provide safe and effective alternatives to youth incarceration and residential placement.”

As several counties in Indiana are gearing up to develop and implement community-based alternatives to detention through the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative, it is a shift in focus to consider nonresidential placement options for high-risk youth.  It may be helpful to consider the elements of effective community-based programs detailed in Safely Home, which includes:

  • “Accept all kids and adopt “no reject” policies
  • Be available, accessible, and flexible
  • Empower voice, choice, and ownership
  • Individualize services for each youth
  • Ensure family-focused services are provided
  • Take a strength-based approach
  • Provide culturally competent services
  • Engage youth in work
  • Prioritize safety and crisis planning
  • Provide unconditional caring (no-eject policies)
  • Create opportunities for civic engagement and giving back
  • Cultivate long-term connection to the community”

The post Keeping “High-Need” Youth in the Community was first posted on the Indiana Juvenile Justice Blog.

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