Children and the Law in Indiana: Advancing the Legal Needs of Children

Children continue to be one of the most vulnerable populations in our state, and experience many unmet legal needs. Over the last decade, our firm has litigated important cases on behalf of children, and devoted legal expertise and energy in professional activities that have led to significant changes in public policy.

Our firm has collaborated with community organizations, child advocates and professional organizations to launch initiatives in multiple areas benefiting children:
In 2011, we have supported bar-related efforts to address issues related to access to legal counsel for children in delinquency cases.
In 2010 legislative session, we supported House Enrolled Act 1193 (Law Enforcement, School Police and Youth Workgroup – March 31, 2010, Indiana Lawyer).
In 2009, we worked with other child advocates, legislators and former Commissioners of the Indiana Commission on Disproportionality in Youth Services to pass laws that would address specific recommendations contained in the Commission’s final report. Over 20 bills were filed, and 6 were enacted into law.

We are continuing to work on alleviating racial disparities by participating in the work of the Indiana Disproportionality Committee and serving on the Disproportionality Minority Contact Committee of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s Juvenile Justice Alternatives Initiative in Marion County. We also supported the joint collaboration of the Commission on Disproportionality in Youth Services and the Indiana State Bar Association state-wide Summit on Racial Disparities in the Juvenile Justice System, August 27, 2009, and the release of a report and recommendations in October 2010.

Our firm has had a longstanding commitment to work on advancing the mental health needs of children. We supported the effort of the Indiana State Bar Association to produce a report on Children, Mental Health and the Law in 2005, and subsequently establish a pilot project for youth in detention to receive mental health screening, which is now in its 5th year. We supported passage of several legislative bills that have advanced the mental health needs of youth in juvenile justice facilities.

Children Resources:


Over the last several years, there have been several state-wide reports on the status of children in Indiana. These reports support that major public policy reform is necessary to improve the status of children in our state:

There have also been some important reports on youth in juvenile justice at the national level. These reports support that juvenile justice reform is imperative from the vantage point of public safety and fiscal policy objectives. The reforms that hold the best promise for improving outcomes and well-being of children ultimately keep them out of the juvenile justice system and in school, thereby improving academic achievement, improving public safety and saving tax payer money in the process:

Useful Resources


National Organizations of Interest