B.A., a child, was abandoned by his biological mother around the age of five years old. Prior to this, B.A. was exposed to significant acts of prostitution and pornography by his mother and was repeatedly raped by one of mother’s boyfriends. Around the age of nine years old, B.A. was adopted by C.A. B.A. suffers from gender identity issues and has been both a victim and perpetrator of sexual abuse, including abuse perpetrated by two older foster children while in C.A.’s care. C.A. described his discipline as being “strict” and spanked B.A. with a paddle. B.A. began to exhibit behavior issues while in C.A.’s care, including storing food and trash around the house. B.A. also started exhibiting physical aggression and throwing tantrums at school. He was once suspended from school for two to three days.
Around September 2010, B.A. was admitted to Community North Hospital for approximately nine or ten days of treatment because of writing a death threat letter. After being discharged from treatment, B.A. was on medication that led to his behavior being more reserved, and he did not exhibit any more behavior issues until February 2011. At that time, B.A. was picked up by the police and taken back to Community North Hospital, where a referral was made for B.A. to receive treatment at Resource, a residential treatment facility in Indianapolis. During this time that B.A. was being treated at Resource, C.A. participated in B.A.’s therapy sessions every other week, with some of the sessions occurring telephonically. Resource’s initial permanency plan for B.A. was for him to be returned to C.A.’s care at the end of September 2011, but there were concerns that reunification might not be appropriate or safe for either B.A. or C.A. because “much therapeutic work needs to be done by both [B.A.] and his father, in order to prepare them for reunification.”
On September 16, 2011, the Indiana Department of Child Services (“DCS”) received a report that B.A., age fifteen at the time, was at Resource, and C.A. was unwilling to either pick up B.A. from the facility or assist B.A. in his treatment. Resource was ready to discharge B.A. from their services and return him to C.A.’s care. The government assistance used, in part, for B.A.’s treatment was expiring, leaving C.A. with the responsibility to pay for the continued treatment costs of B.A. C.A. informed DCS that he was unwilling to take B.A. back into his care due to C.A.’s concerns for his own safety and because C.A. did not feel like B.A.’s treatment was progressing to his standards.
The Indiana Department of Child Services filed a petition alleging B.A. to be a Child in Need of Supervision (CHINS) under Indiana law. DCS assumed responsibility for B.A.’s residential treatment, and B.A.’s permanency plan at Resource changed from being discharged to C.A. to remaining at Resource. Early in the CHINS case, C.A. told the DCS family case manager that he was not interested in visiting B.A., participating in B.A.’s therapy, or working toward reunification with B.A. Throughout the duration of the CHINS case, C.A. did not participate in B.A.’s treatment or visit him at Resource or the Youth Opportunity Center, where B.A. was moved in January 2012. C.A. stated that he feared B.A. and feared for his physical safety with B.A. in the home.
Prior to a fact-finding hearing, C.A. notified the juvenile court that he intended to argue that B.A. should be found to be a CHINS. The juvenile court found that C.A. refused to participate in B.A.’s treatment and had not visited him, thus abandoning the child.
C.A. appealed, ostensibly because he didn’t like the finding that he abandoned the child.
C.A. concedes that B.A. was a CHINS and that B.A. needed care, treatment, or rehabilitation that he was not receiving or that was unlikely to be provided or accepted without the coercive intervention of the court. His only argument is that the evidence did not support the juvenile court’s finding that B.A.’s physical or mental condition was seriously impaired or seriously endangered as a result of the inability, refusal, or neglect of C.A. to supply B.A. with necessary food, clothing, shelter, medical care, education, or supervision.
Here, the evidence presented showed that, when C.A. was notified that Resource was ready to discharge B.A. due to his government assistance expiring, he refused to pick up B.A. from the facility due to concerns for his own safety. C.A. refused to take B.A. back into his care and stated he would only take a “normal” B.A. back into his care. After the CHINS case was filed, the evidence showed that C.A. did not participate in B.A.’s treatment at any point and did not ever go to visit him in the residential facilities. He told the DCS family case manager that he was not willing or interested in participating in therapy, in visiting B.A., or in reunification.
The court concluded that the juvenile court did not err when it found that B.A. was a CHINS . The evidence presented supported the juvenile court’s findings, and the court’s findings supported the judgment.
In the Matter of B.A., Child Alleged To Be In Need of Services, C.A., Father, Appellant-Respondent, vs. INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES