Ind.Ct.App., 5/19/19, slip op. at https://www.in.gov/judiciary/opinions/pdf/05151901rp.pdf
(CHINS adjudication REVERSED)
- By statute, a CHINS fact-finding hearing must be completed no later than 60 days after the petition is filed. However, upon the agreement of all parties, the juvenile court may conduct a fact-finding hearing no later than 120 days after the petition is filed. If the fact-finding hearing is not held within either of those time frames, the court shall dismiss the case without prejudice upon receiving a motion to dismiss.
- In this case, all parties agreed to setting the fact-finding hearing beyond the 120-day deadline. At the dispositional hearing several months after the fact-finding hearing, Mother asked the court to dismiss the CHINS petition because the fact-finding hear was not timely. COA agreed with Mother that the 120-day timeline is a “certain deadline” that may not be extended upon agreement. COA reversed Child’s CHINS adjudication and remanded with instructions to dismiss the CHINS petition without prejudice. If DCS chooses to refile the petition, it will have to submit new evidence regarding current conditions.