In the Matter of M.I., N.I.1, N.I.2, N.I.3, N.I.4, S.I. (Minor Children); Denis Koehlinger, Appellant (Guardian ad Litem)
K.H. (Mother), Appellee (Respondent) A.I. (Father) and L.M. (Father), Appellants (Respondents)
Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee (Petitioner)
Argued: June 4, 2019
from the Allen Superior Court, Nos. 02D08-1710-JT-146, -147,
-148, -149, -150, -151 The Honorable Daniel G. Heath, Judge
Petition to Transfer from the Indiana Court of Appeals, No.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT DENIS KOEHLINGER Roberta L. Renbarger
Fort Wayne, Indiana
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE K.H. Thomas C. Allen Fort Wayne,
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANTS A.I. AND L.M. Gregory L. Fumarolo
Fort Wayne, Indiana
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES
Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Robert J.
Henke Abigail R. Recker Deputy Attorneys General
trial court refused to terminate a mother's parental
rights, concluding termination was not in the children's
best interests. The court found that the children shared a
strong bond with their mother, that DCS would struggle to
find adoptive homes for the children, and that the mother had
made progress complying with the requirements of her
parent-participation plan. Yet the children's guardian ad
litem appealed, insisting that the mother's parental
rights should be terminatedâsolely because she had not yet
found suitable housing for herself and her children.
affirm the trial court. Even though the mother still lacked
suitable housing, the court's findings-which are
supported by ample evidence- reflect that termination would
sever the children's strong family bond with a mother who
was making progress, only to leave them with doubtful
prospects for a permanent adoptive home. And so, the
court's conclusion that DCS failed to clearly and
convincingly show that termination was in the children's
best interests was not contrary to law.
and Procedural History
2015, K.H. (Mother) took six of her children to an Indiana
Department of Child Services (DCS) office. She told the
department that she couldn't care for them because of her
alcohol addiction and recent homelessness. At the time, the
children ranged in age from one to ten years old.
DCS's petition, a court found the children in need of
services. And it imposed on Mother a parent-participation
plan with twenty-three requirements. That plan required her,
in part, to maintain suitable housing and employment, attend
Alcoholics Anonymous (AA) meetings, take part in counseling,
enroll in home-based services, submit to random drug screens,
and participate in visitations.
children remained with Mother, and they all moved in with her
aunt. During this time, Mother was working and looking for
housing. But when her aunt moved away in June 2016, Mother
had not yet ...