According to new information from the Indiana Office of Court Services, the number of “child in need of services” (CHINS) cases increased dramatically between 2010 and 2015. CHINS cases involve reports of abuse or neglect toward children 17 years old and younger. The specific issues could revolve around any mistreatment of a child, from a lack of food or basic necessities to being sexually abused by a family member. Unfortunately, Indiana is witnessing a rise in abuse, or at least in the number of cases sent to court. In 2015, there were 17,491 opened CHINS cases throughout Indiana. This was a 44 percent increase from 12,160 cases opened in 2010. Some authorities believe growing substance abuse issues and a lack of mental health care may be to blame.
If you or your child are involved in a CHINS case, you need an experienced Indianapolis child custody lawyer by your side. A Child Protective Services (CPS) investigation can be long and daunting. You may find yourself being questioned unexpectedly.
Call Hessler Law today at (317) 886-8800 to find out how he can help you.
Substance Abuse May be to Blame
Indiana Chief Justice Loretta Rush believes opioid addiction is at least partly to blame for the rise in CHINS cases. In 2014, more than 1,100 residents passed away from drug poisoning. Of these individuals, 452 died specifically from opioids. Another 2,822 individuals visited the emergency room that year due to opioid overdoses. According to a report from the Richard M. Fairbanks Foundation, approximately 286,000 Hoosiers report using opioid painkillers for a non-medical reason. Indiana has been hit hard by the national opioid epidemic and its related consequences, like overdoses, the spread of HIV, and now, child abuse.
Substance abuse by the perpetrator of the violence or neglect is extremely common. Chief Justice Rush pointed out that a parent who is addicted to drugs or alcohol is three times more likely to physically or sexually abuse a child. As the number of adults and parents suffering from an opioid addiction increases, so too may the number of children suffering from neglect or abuse.
Mental Health a Major Contributing Factor
The Founder and Executive Director of Susie’s Place, Emily Perry, believes mental health issues are also at fault for the rise in CHINS cases in the state. Mental health, including substance abuse issues, is the leading factor in child abuse and neglect. Individuals suffering from a mental health condition but who have not been diagnosed or are not receiving treatment are more likely to harm a child.
Unfortunately, Hoosiers suffering from addiction or other mental health conditions come up against a number of barriers in getting better, including a lack of education, resources, and nearby facilities. This can cause adults to continue on with a treatable condition for too long, lowering their quality of life and increasing the risk of child abuse or neglect.
Contact Hessler Law for Help
If you are involved in a CHINS case and have questions about the investigation process or feel like you need someone to stand up for your rights, contact an Indianapolis criminal defense attorney at Hessler Law today. We have years of experience helping people navigate the court system and working to obtain the best outcome possible for everyone involved.
Call us today at (317) 886-8800.