592 N.E.2d 1232 (Ind. 1992), 05S02-9206-CV-431, Egly v. Blackford County Dept. of Public Welfare

Docket Nº:05S02-9206-CV-431.
Citation:592 N.E.2d 1232
Party Name:Walter EGLY and Diana Egly, Appellants, (Respondents Below), v. BLACKFORD COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, Appellee. (Petitioner Below).
Case Date:June 04, 1992
Court:Supreme Court of Indiana
 
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Page 1232

592 N.E.2d 1232 (Ind. 1992)

Walter EGLY and Diana Egly, Appellants, (Respondents Below),

v.

BLACKFORD COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF PUBLIC WELFARE, Appellee.

(Petitioner Below).

No. 05S02-9206-CV-431.

Supreme Court of Indiana.

June 4, 1992

Thomas A. Brown, Hartford City, for appellants, Walter Egly and Diana egly.

William E. Ervin, Hartford City, for appellee, Blackford County Dept. of Public Welfare.

Mary Jane Norman, Derelle Watson-Duvall, Indianapolis, for amicus curiae, Marion County Dept. of Public Welfare.

Page 1233

KRAHULIK, Justice.

Blackford County Department of Public Welfare (Petitioner-Appellee below) ("Welfare Department") seeks transfer after the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court judgment terminating the parental rights of Walter and Diana Egly (Respondents-Appellants below) (the "Eglys"). Egly v. Blackford County Welfare Dept. (1991), Ind.App., 575 N.E.2d 312. We grant transfer to address the proper standard to be applied in actions to terminate parental rights.

The facts pertinent to the petition are as set out in the opinion of the Court of Appeals:

Linda Miller ... a case worker with the Department, visited the Eglys' trailer home and discovered holes in the floor of the trailer, no water, that the furnace did not work properly, and a kerosene heater spewing fumes throughout the house.

As a result of this investigation, Walter Jr. and Matthew [the Egly's children] were temporarily removed from the home and made wards of the State. Deborah Slater (Slater), a Department caseworker, began to work with Walter and Diana to help them establish a better home environment for the children. Slater counseled the Eglys regarding budgeting, homemaking, supervised visitation and provided transportation for the Eglys to and from the Grant County Developmental Center so they could attend parenting classes. The Eglys entered into a contract for services on December 15, 1987, and before Christmas of 1987, Walter Jr. and Matthew, were returned to the Egly home.

During their removal from the home and in subsequent follow-up visits, Department workers observed problems with the Egly children. Walter Jr., who was nearly four years old in December of 1987, had not been toilet-trained. Matthew, who was about nine months old at the time, was usually confined to a crib during Department visits and had not sufficiently developed his motor skills. Counselors also concluded that both children were socially deprived. Walter Jr., who was mildly retarded, had difficulty learning and had a speech problem in which he repeated everything he heard.

The two children were again temporarily removed from the home and placed in foster care. While in foster care, Walter Jr. became...

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