Rush Highlights Improvements in State of the Judiciary

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(photo courtesy Indiana Supreme Court) (photo courtesy Indiana Supreme Court)

Indiana Supreme Court Chief Justice Loretta Rush says courts throughout Indiana made great strides over the last year. In her State of the Judiciary address Wednesday, Rush highlighted the increased use of electronic filing and a decrease in the number of children being incarcerated. However, Rush says the state saw a sharp increase in the amount of children entering the welfare system.

Rush says the 32 counties participating in the Juvenile Detention Alternatives Initiative have seen a 50 percent reduction in the number of children going to jail and a 45 percent reduction in children facing felony charges. She added nearly 4,000 children found new homes through adoption last year in an effort "to have Indiana shine as the most adoption-friendly state in the country."

However, Rush says the state still faces challenges in helping children throughout the state. She says 18,000 children entered the child welfare system, which is a 23 percent increase in Child in Need of Services cases.

"To be clear, these are not cases of juvenile delinquency, where the child has broken the law," said Rush. "These are cases of abuse and neglect, where a child’s parent has been dealing meth, or is in jail for battery, or—with frightening frequency—where an innocent baby is brought into the world addicted to drugs. The courts could not help these children without dedicated partners."

Rush says more than a quarter of Indiana counties have switched to an electronic filing system with the goal of having the system statewide over the next two years. 

The Chief Justice also celebrate the court's longest-serving member, Justice Robert Rucker, who is retiring after 26 years. Though a specific retirement date has not been set, Rush says Rucker will hear his final arguments on March 9 at Gary Roosevelt High School, from which he graduated in the 1960s.

You can view the full State of the Judiciary address by clicking here.

Rush says more work can be done to help children in need throughout Indiana.
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