Listen Live

(INDIANAPOLIS) – Indiana’s chief justice says Indiana’s courts are delivering progress against the opioid epidemic.

In her annual State of the Judiciary address, Chief Justice Loretta Rush says the state has nearly tripled its family recovery courts in the last year. She says those 18 courts are critical to getting a handle on addiction. By connecting judges with community partners, she says the courts clear a path to keep families together and sober, instead of parental addictions forcing children out of the home for their own safety.

The Supreme Court co-sponsored an opioid summit last year for judicial, health and law enforcement personnel from every county. Rush says they went home with new tools not just for setting up recovery courts, but for getting people into treatment and understanding addiction. She says there’ll be more trainings and workshops this year across the state. Rush says substance abuse and addiction “have invaded every Indiana community.”

Rush says the courts are in a unique position to help children in need. Indiana courts handle 135,000 cases a year involving kids, from divorce and juvenile crime to paternity and child welfare investigations.

The court is in the middle of its periodic review of child-support guidelines to make sure kids’ basic needs are covered. Rush pledges the eventual revision will hear the voices of parents who sent personal testimony to the review panel, or came to the statehouse to address the committee in person.

The court has already created an online support calculator. Another online app introduced last year syncs up with state school calendars to simplify the process of working out custody schedules.

Chief Justice Loretta Rush delivers her State of the Judiiciary address as Indiana Court of Appeals Chief Judge Nancy Vaidik, House Speaker Brian Bosma and Gov. Eric Holcomb listen (Photo: Eric Berman/WIBC)