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wfyi on 5/24/2023 by Katrina Pross
A new law that will go into effect this summer will eliminate some costs and fees in juvenile court for those who can’t afford to pay them.
House Enrolled Act 1493 passed out of the Indiana General Assembly this past session, and was signed by Gov. Eric Holcomb on May 1.
Youth and their families can be charged for costs such as having a public defender, being placed in residential treatment or being detained in a Department of Correction facility. Costs vary for each child, but the payments can be significant – totaling hundreds or even thousands of dollars.
Under current Indiana law, the court presumes that parents are able to pay these costs.
Now, HEA 1493 will place the burden on the courts to prove that families are able to pay the fees. It also removes the obligation to pay for a public defender. The new law additionally applies to some services for youth in the custody of the state’s Department of Child Services.
The costs will likely be absorbed by county public defender funds. Less money will also go to the state agencies that provide juvenile services. Officials said that already, many of the charges are not ultimately collected from families.