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Indiana child welfare agency responds to court's criticism

The Indiana Court of Appeals' rebuke in July cited a "disturbing trend" involving 10 cases the Department of Child Services handled between September 2017 and March 2018.

Posted: Sep. 21, 2018 9:39 PM

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) - An appeals court's scathing rebuke of Indiana's embattled child-welfare agency has prompted the department's top official to concede that its legal work has "fallen short."

The Indiana Court of Appeals' rebuke in July cited a "disturbing trend" involving 10 cases the Department of Child Services handled between September 2017 and March 2018.

Parents in each case appealed the termination of their parental rights. The court says the department sent the cases back to the trial court instead of to an appeals court, which allowed the department to avoid having to defend its actions.

Department of Child Services' director Terry Stigdon says she agrees with the appeals court's assessment. She says the agency is working to recruit more legal talent and provide additional staff training.

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