INdiana Systemic Thinking

January 24, 2008

Charity Bailey Appealling Release of Records

As most will recall, Charity Bailey, along with Lawrence Green, is accused of beating her daughter, Tajanay Bailey to death back in November.  The case shook the Department of Family Services to it’s core, mostly because Juvenile Court Judge Marilyn Moores ordered the release of records pertaining, not just to TaJanay, but older records of Charity Bailey.  Now, according to the Indianapolis Star, Charity Bailey is appealing that, as well as other decisions, made by Moore.

An attorney representing the mother of TaJanay Bailey has notified the court she will appeal two court decisions releasing juvenile records in the case.

On Jan. 3, juvenile court Judge Marilyn Moores granted The Indianapolis Star’s request to release records in the earlier of two child-welfare cases involving TaJanay. The judge also released the juvenile records of the girl’s mother, Charity Bailey.

TaJanay, 3, died Nov. 27 of apparent abuse. Bailey and her boyfriend, Lawrence Green, both 20, face murder and neglect charges.

Attorney Frances L. Ashton filed a notice last week that Bailey would ask the Indiana Court of Appeals to review Moores’ decision. She also notified the court that she would appeal a Jan. 11 decision by Moores granting The Star’s request for a transcript of the last court hearing before TaJanay’s death.

January 15, 2008

Inside SB 0091: Sibling Visitation

The Associated Press, via the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette carried this story yesterday about SB 0091.

From the Story:

The bill would allow children in foster care to request visits if it is in their best interests. It also would allow a special advocate to be appointed to represent the child. If the Department of Child Services denies a visit request, the child or advocate could petition a juvenile court to intervene.

The Indiana Department of Child Services encourages sibling visits when possible and is always looking for foster homes and adoptive parents willing to take in several children from the same family, spokeswoman Susan Tielking said.

The bill was introduced by Sen. Mike Delph (R-Carmel). 

Here is the official summary of the bill:

Foster care sibling visitation. Requires the department of child services (DCS) to promote sibling visitation for every child who receives foster care. Allows a sibling to request sibling visitation if one of the siblings is receiving foster care. Requires DCS to allow sibling visitation if it is in the best interests of the child receiving foster care. Provides that if DCS denies a request for sibling visitation, an individual may petition a juvenile court for sibling visitation. Requires a court to grant sibling visitation if the court determines sibling visitation is in the best interests of the child who receives foster care. Permits a court to appoint a guardian ad litem or a court appointed special advocate if a child requesting sibling visitation is receiving foster care. Provides that a guardian ad litem or court appointed special advocate appointed in a sibling visitation case is immune from civil liability, except for gross misconduct. (The introduced version of this bill was prepared by the interim study committee on missing children.)

CASA Rocks!

Yesterday’s South Bend Tribune carried this story about CASAs/GALs.  For those unaware, CASA stands for Court Appointed Special Advocates and GAL means Guardian Ad Litem.  These are legal terms for volunteers (generally) appointed to represent the interests of children in abuse, neglect, and domestic relations cases.  Most recently a GAL was in the news when she attempted to have TaJanay Bailey removed from her mother’s home against the wishes of the Department of Child Services.  TaJanay was allegedly killed by her mother the day of the hearing.

The Blogmeister has had the pleasure of serving on the board of Northeastern Indiana CASA for the last few years.  It’s a good not for profit organization totally devoted to the needs and representation of children in the court system.  Aside from a few paid staff to run the organization, it is completely staffed by volunteers and funded by private and United Way donations, as well as some funding from county courts.  As such, they are always looking for volunteers and other forms of support.

Check out the story, and if so moved, contact your local CASA/GAL office and inquire how you can help!

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