In the Matter of: M.W., a Child Alleged to be in Need of Services, S.R. (Mother), Appellant-Respondent,
Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner
from the Vanderburgh Superior Court Trial Court Cause No.
82D04-1807-JC-1414 The Honorable Brett J. Niemeier, Judge,
The Honorable Renee A. Ferguson, Magistrate Judge
Attorney for Appellant Erin L. Berger Evansville, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General
Robert J. Henke Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
Vaidik, Chief Judge.
S.R. ("Mother") appeals the trial court's
placement of M.W. ("Child") after it found that
Child is a child in need of services (CHINS). Because Child
has since been placed with Mother and the CHINS case closed,
we dismiss this appeal as moot.
and Procedural History
Child was born to Mother and Me.W. ("Father")
(collectively, "Parents") in 2003. At some point
Parents split up and Father was granted custody of Child. In
July 2018, Father and fifteen-year-old Child lived in
Evansville with a woman named A.W., who had been named a
legal custodian of Child, and Mother lived in Chicago. On
July 23, the Department of Child Services (DCS) removed Child
and filed a CHINS petition alleging that Father was abusing
substances and told DCS workers that he no longer wants Child
in his house. At the initial hearing, Father denied the
allegations. Mother appeared by phone and asked if she could
come get Child. Judge Pro Tem Jillian Reed said that to do
that Mother would need to file a petition to modify custody
or would need to undergo an investigation under the
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC), which
provides a way to send children to new homes across state
lines and allows the receiving state to investigate whether a
child can be placed in a proposed home. See Bester v.
Lake Cty. Office of Family and Children, 839 N.E.2d 143,
145 n.2 (Ind. 2005). After Judge Reed explained Mother's
options, the following colloquy occurred:
THE COURT: Do you have any objection to [Child] being found
to be a child in need of services?
[MOTHER]: Yeah, [Child] still needs (indiscernible). And
I think that [Child] shouldn't be abused in any kinda way
or form. [Child is] a little kid.
THE COURT: So you don't -
[MOTHER]: Yeah, [Child] will need services.
THE COURT: So you don't have any objection to [Child]
receiving services and being ...