Having the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) involved in your family life is often a heart-wrenching and challenging time. Our attorneys provide aggressive defense of parental rights in matters filed by the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS). From helping reunify families to finding creative solutions to reach case closure to obtaining a favorable placement, our attorneys are fierce advocates for our clients in matters pursued by the DCS.

Defend and maintain your parental rights

Parents have fundamental liberty interests in raising their children according to their own beliefs and values. Whether you are facing a fact finding to determine if your child is a Child In Need of Services (CHINS), completing services in a CHINS matter, or fighting against a Termination of Parental Rights (TPR), at Emswiller, Williams, Noland & Clarke, LLC, our experienced attorneys work with our clients to develop their goals and a strategy to meet those goals. We explain the process and the way the DCS and the courts operate every step of the way.

Obtain or maintain placement, guardianship, or adoption of a child at the center of a DCS case.

Sometimes the DCS insists upon children being placed in a home away from their parents during a case or for a longer period of time in order to close a CHINS case. In these cases, the DCS is mandated to consider family members and close family friends before foster parents. We have experience assisting family members and foster parents in seeking guardianships and adoptions (even when the DCS does not consent to the adoption).

Appeal or expunge a substantiation.

If the DCS has substantiated abuse or neglect with you listed as the perpetrator, you may not be allowed to chaperone field trips with your children and face other restrictions. When faced with a substantiation, you can either appeal the decision (within a very short timeframe) or expunge the substation. In an administrative appeal, we hold the DCS to the burden of proving that the abuse or neglect occurred. In an expungement, the courts consider several factors when deciding if an expungement is appropriate. Our attorneys can discuss your administrative appellate rights, the expungement factors, and evaluate your specific circumstances to find the best solution for you.

Change of Placement
The Indiana Parenting Time Guidelines effective March 1, 2013, include direction on:
  • A child’s basic needs
  • The scope of the application of the Guidelines
  • The general rules applicable to parenting time
  • Implementing parenting time
  • Exchange of the children’s information
  • Resolution of problems and relocation
  • Overnight parenting time for infants, toddlers and teenagers
  • Holiday parenting time
  • Parenting time when distance is a major factor
  • Parallel parenting