Once the Indiana Department of Child Services has filed a petition alleging a child is in need of services (referred to as a ChINS case), the presiding court will set an initial hearing for all parties involved. At the initial hearing the parties have the opportunity to admit or deny the allegations in the petition. This is a very important step. If you are the subject of a ChINS proceeding, you will want to discuss this with a lawyer prior to your initial hearing.
If you or your family are subject to a ChINS proceeding, there are many types of hearings that will take place throughout the process including placement hearings, dispositional hearings, review hearings, fact-finding hearings, permanency hearings, and termination of parental rights (TPR).
At these hearings the subject of the ChINS proceeding will be present along with service providers, DCS, the presiding judge and a Guardian Ad Litem (GAL). These hearings all have different purposes. In addition, there are statutory requirements placed on DCS and the Court regarding these hearings. If you are subject to a ChINS proceeding, you will want experienced counsel at your side to guide you through the process to protect you rights.