Mysteriously, recently several parents have been ordered to appear in juvenile courts for delinquency cases that have been closed for ten to twenty years in an effort to recoup costs for long-term residential placements that were paid by the counties.
Obviously, if this is an action to collect restitution that was ordered as part of a disposition decree, but went unpaid, it may be part of a normal civil collection process. The juvenile court records would show what restitution was ordered and when the restitution was to be paid.
For the other cases where there was no restitution order, this attempt to collect costs for the county brings up questions of jurisdiction, if the case was closed all of those years ago and the “child” is more than twenty-one years old. Another inquiry is whether the restitution being requested is proper under IC 31-40, and what relevant restitution statutes were at the time of the disposition and any review hearings. IC 31-40 was added to the Indiana Code in 1997. There were significant changes to IC 31-40 in 2008 (and several years since), when payment for residential placements shifted from the county to the Indiana Department of Child Services.
An attorney should be consulted to research what restitution, if any, is appropriate.