IN Law Eliminates Costs and Fees in Juvenile Court for Low-Income Families

A new law in Indiana will eliminate certain costs and fees in juvenile court for families who cannot afford to pay them. House Enrolled Act 1493, signed by Governor Eric Holcomb, shifts the burden of proving families' ability to pay fees onto the courts and removes the obligation to pay for a public defender. The law also applies to some services for youth in the custody of the Department of Child Services. The costs will be absorbed by county public defender funds, and less money will go to state agencies providing juvenile services. The legislation is part of broader efforts to address inconsistencies in how juvenile issues are handled across Indiana's counties. The law aims to prevent the imposition of financial burdens on families and promote rehabilitation rather than punishment in the juvenile justice system. However, some costs, such as those associated with probation services and secure detention, will still be charged to families even after the law goes into effect on July 1.