In the Matter of: Ce.B. and Co.B. (Minor Children)
The Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner and C.K. (Custodian), Appellant-Respondent,
from the Vanderburgh Superior Court The Honorable Brett J.
Niemeier, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 82D04-1607-JC-1191
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Thomas G. Krochta Evansville, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
of Indiana Abigail R. Recker Deputy Attorney General
Vaidik, Chief Judge.
custodian of two siblings appeals, claiming that the juvenile
court erred in determining that the siblings were children in
need of services (CHINS) without first holding a factfinding
hearing. We find, however, that the juvenile court did hold a
factfinding hearing in this case. At that hearing, the
custodian, represented by counsel, chose to stipulate that
the facts contained in the CHINS petitions and reports of
preliminary inquiry were true. The juvenile court then
reviewed those materials and, based on the stipulated facts
contained in them, made a legal determination that the
children were CHINS. Furthermore, the custodian does not make
any argument that his stipulation should be withdrawn for
cause. We therefore affirm the juvenile court.
and Procedural History
On July 5, 2016, DCS filed petitions alleging that Co.B.,
born October 9, 2010, and Ce.B., born April 17, 2015, were
CHINS pursuant to Indiana Code section 31-34-1-1.
Appellant's App. Vol. II pp. 18-19, 29-30. The petitions
alleged that the children lived with their mother, N.B.
("Mother"), and their Mother's boyfriend, C.K.
("Custodian"), and that the children's father
was in prison.The petitions further alleged that Mother
and Custodian engaged in domestic violence in front of Co.B.,
that Custodian was recently arrested for a domestic- violence
incident involving Mother (and had charges pending against
him for that incident), that Custodian used cocaine and
marijuana, and that Mother used marijuana. An initial hearing
was held that same day, and Mother and Custodian were each
Mother and Custodian appeared in court with their attorneys
on July 27. The following colloquy occurred between the
judge, Mother, Custodian, and the attorneys:
[Judge]: [H]ow does your client [want to] proceed?
[Mother's attorney]: Your Honor, my client's prepared
to stipulate to the petition and affidavit.
[Custodian's attorney]: As would my client, Your Honor.
[Judge]: And you all understand by stipulating we're not
having a trial? I just refresh my memory by reading this and
deciding the case ...