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STATEWIDE–This legislation in Indiana is one that lawmakers claim would create a new problem-solving court to help abused or neglected children.

The bill says this would be for children up to the age of three and their families. The goals of these courts are to reduce things like repeat maltreatment as well as long and short-term effects of traumatic experiences on a child’s brain development.

State Representative Ryan Lauer of Columbus wrote the bill.

“In these cases, it takes time and effort from all parties to reach the best decision for the child. By taking these proceedings through a problem-solving court focused on these issues, a permanency decision can be made more quickly and judges can also work closely with the guardians to help ensure they’re on the right track,” said Lauer.

State Representative Julie McGuire of Indianapolis was one of the bills co-authors. She says these kinds of courts will help with what are CHINS cases (Children in Need of Services).

“Safe baby courts focus on bringing everyone together to focus on what’s best for these children and that’s making sure they have a loving, safe, and permanent home. Hoosier children deserve stability and permanency in their lives. These courts can help us achieve that goal more quickly,” said McGuire.

This legislation says courts that oversee a CHINS case could use the problem-solving court to review the case, but not be required to do so.

The bill passed both the House and Senate. Now it’s headed to Governor Holcomb’s desk where he is expected to sign it into law.

Court appointed special advocates say that about 33% of children in foster care across the country are under the age of five and babies are least likely among all age groups to exit foster care within a six-month period.

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