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A.S., Appellant-Respondent v. STATE of Indiana, Appellee-Petitioner.
Statement of the Case
 In this consolidated appeal, sixteen-year-old A.S. (“A.S.”) appeals the juvenile court's order that committed him to the Indiana Department of Correction (“the DOC”). A.S. specifically argues that the juvenile court abused its discretion when it committed him to the DOC. Finding no abuse of the juvenile court's discretion, we affirm the juvenile court's judgment.
 We affirm.
Whether the juvenile court abused its discretion when it committed A.S. to the DOC.
 In August 2020, then fourteen-year-old A.S. and his father (“Father”) got into a physical altercation. During this altercation, A.S. punched and kicked Father before fleeing their home. Father chased after A.S. but did not catch him. Police officers arrived on the scene and ordered A.S. to stop. A.S. ignored the officers. Officers then attempted to handcuff A.S., but A.S. pulled away. In response, the officers threatened to further restrain A.S. unless he stopped pulling away. The officers managed to handcuff A.S. and took him to the Southwest Youth Villages Detention Center (“Southwest”).
 The State filed a delinquency petition under cause number 60C01-2008-JD-000155 (“Cause 155”) alleging that A.S. had committed acts that, if committed by an adult, would have been: (1) Class A misdemeanor domestic battery; (2) two counts of Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement; (3) Class B misdemeanor criminal recklessness; and (4) Class B misdemeanor disorderly conduct. Southwest detained A.S. for approximately three weeks while A.S. waited for his dispositional hearing date. During those three weeks, Southwest wrote up A.S. four times, including for one “major” incident. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 42).
 The juvenile court held a dispositional hearing in September 2020. At this hearing, A.S. admitted that he had committed acts that would have been Class A misdemeanor domestic battery and Class A misdemeanor resisting law enforcement. At the conclusion of the hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated A.S. to be a delinquent child and continued his placement at Southwest.
 At an October 2020 hearing, A.S.’s probation officer testified that A.S. had had multiple violations since the last hearing and “was not doing so well” at Southwest. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 49). At the conclusion of the hearing, the juvenile court ordered the probation department to find A.S. a residential placement. As a result, A.S. was sent to Transitions Academy (“Transitions”) for residential treatment.
 In September 2021, the juvenile court held a status hearing. At this hearing, A.S.’s therapist testified that A.S. had “violated [Transition's] safety plan” while on home passes. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 79). Specifically, A.S. had had a friend buy him an e-cigarette and had had unrestricted access to the internet. At the conclusion of the hearing, the juvenile court ordered that A.S. continue his placement at Transitions. In December 2021, Transitions reported that A.S. had not had any incidents since the previous hearing. The juvenile court placed A.S. at home with Father and placed A.S. on probation for 180 days.
 In February 2022, then fifteen-year-old A.S. took Father's rental car without his permission and drove it to Virginia. Police officers in Virginia arrested A.S. after a high-speed chase. A few days later, the probation department filed a petition to revoke A.S.’s probation. In its petition, the probation department alleged that A.S. had violated his probation by committing new felony offenses in Virginia.
 In June 2022, the State filed a delinquency petition in cause number 60C01-2206-JD-000101 (“Cause 101”) alleging that in February 2022, A.S. had committed an act that, if committed by an adult, would have been Level 6 felony auto theft. The juvenile court held a hearing the following day to address both juvenile causes. At the hearing, A.S. admitted that he had violated probation and had committed an act that would have been Level 6 felony auto theft if committed by an adult. At the conclusion of the hearing, the juvenile court adjudicated A.S. to be a delinquent child. The juvenile court also found that A.S. had violated his probation under Cause 155. The juvenile court ordered A.S. on probation under Cause 101, to be served concurrently with his probation in Cause 155. The juvenile court also ordered that A.S. complete a placement at the Youth Opportunity Center (“the YOC”).
 Later that month, the probation department filed a petition to revoke A.S.’s probation in both Cause 101 and Cause 155. Specifically, the probation department alleged that A.S. had violated the terms of his probation by hitting a police officer at the YOC and causing multiple incidents at the YOC. These incidents included pulling a fire alarm and refusing to follow directions from YOC staff. The YOC requested that A.S. be removed from its facility. The probation department then moved A.S. to the Delaware County Juvenile Detention Center.
 At an initial hearing, the juvenile court ordered that A.S. be held at Southwest until his next hearing. In July 2022, the juvenile court held a factfinding hearing. At this hearing, A.S. admitted to violating the terms of his probation by hitting a police officer, pulling a fire alarm, and refusing to listen to instructions from YOC staff. At the conclusion of the hearing, the juvenile court ordered a predispositional report and set a date for a dispositional hearing. The juvenile court also told A.S. that he had “created some real issues for [him]self” by not complying with multiple facilities’ rules. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 151). The juvenile court stressed that A.S.’s “track record ha[d] not been that [good] with compliance[.]” (Tr. Vol. 2 at 151). The juvenile court warned A.S. that continued violation of facility rules made it “hard for [the juvenile court] not to consider the [DOC][.]” (Tr. Vol. 2 at 151). The juvenile court also told A.S. that the best thing that he could do was “fully comply” with Southwest's rules. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 151).
 Two weeks later, the juvenile court held a dispositional hearing. At the hearing, A.S.’s probation officer testified that the residential facility at Southwest (“Southwest Residential”) was willing to take A.S. and that the probation department recommended that placement. The juvenile court ordered A.S. to Southwest Residential under the condition that A.S. fully complied with the facility's rules. The juvenile court again reminded A.S. that “it [was] all on [him] at th[at] point in time” and that if A.S. was not successful there that the DOC would likely be the only remaining option. (Tr. Vol. 2 at 163).
 At the end of August 2023, Southwest Residential closed. As a result, the court ordered A.S. transferred to Pierceton Woods Academy (“Pierceton”) for the remainder of his probation. A week later, A.S. fled from Pierceton, and police officers arrested him in another county. Following his arrest, A.S. submitted a drug screen that tested positive for marijuana. The probation department filed a petition to revoke A.S.’s probation in both Cause 155 and Cause 101. The juvenile court held an evidentiary hearing in late September 2023. At this hearing, A.S. admitted to fleeing Pierceton and testing positive for marijuana. A.S. returned to Southwest until his dispositional hearing.
 At an October 2023 dispositional hearing, Owen County Probation Officer Chelsea Hornaday (“PO Hornaday”) testified that she recommended A.S. be made a ward of the DOC. PO Hornaday further testified that A.S. had been placed in four different residential facilities and had failed every placement. PO Hornaday also testified that she was not aware of any other residential facility that was willing to take A.S.
 Southwest Case Manager Susan Hedge (“CM Hedge”) also testified at the hearing. CM Hedge testified that Southwest did not currently have a behavior management counselor on staff but that a behavior management counselor came a couple of times each week. CM Hedge further testified that A.S. had not had any major issues since he had returned to Southwest and that he had “respect[ed] [her][.]” (Tr. Vol. 2 at 215).
 The juvenile court told A.S. the following:
You've had those opportunities for rehabilitation. You were offered and failed numerous, different services and programs. We've tried out-patient, we've tried the parties coming to [Father]’s house. We've tried formal probation, residential and therapeutic programs. And you've continued ․ to have two new offenses and routinely failed to comply with the conditions of your probation and any out-patient services or therapeutic sessions that I give you. You've demonstrated to me that you're unable to do what is required of you without being in a heavily structured and supervised environment.
(Tr. Vol. 2 at 233). The juvenile court also told A.S. that he did not get to pick the facility where he will be placed. The juvenile court also noted that “previous attempts at the least restrictive options ha[d] been attempted with no lasting effect.” (Tr. Vol. 2 at 233). The juvenile court stated that it did not believe that it could find a program that could better meet A.S.’s needs and be least restrictive than the DOC. At the conclusion of the dispositional hearing, the juvenile court ordered A.S. to be committed to the DOC.
 A.S. now appeals.
 A.S. argues that the juvenile court abused its discretion when it committed him to the DOC. A juvenile court is accorded wide latitude and great flexibility in its dealings with juveniles. J.T. v. State, 111 N.E.3d 1019, 1025 (Ind. Ct. App. 2018), trans. denied. The choice of a specific disposition of a juvenile adjudicated to be a delinquent child will be reversed only if the juvenile court abuses its discretion. Id. The juvenile court's discretion in determining a disposition is subject to the statutory considerations of the welfare of the child, the safety of the community, and the policy favoring the least harsh disposition. Id. An abuse of discretion occurs when the juvenile court's action is clearly against the logic and effect of the facts and circumstances before the court or the reasonable, probable, and actual inferences that can be drawn therefrom. M.C. v. State, 134 N.E.3d 453, 458 (Ind. Ct. App. 2019), trans. denied.
 Indiana Code § 31-37-18-6 sets forth the following factors that a juvenile court must consider when entering a dispositional decree in a juvenile matter:
If consistent with the safety of the community and the best interest of the child, the juvenile court shall enter a dispositional decree that:
(A) in the least restrictive (most family like) and most appropriate setting available; and
(B) close to the parents’ home, consistent with the best interest and special needs of the child;
(2) least interferes with family autonomy;
(3) is least disruptive of family life;
(4) imposes the least restraint on the freedom of the child and the child's parent, guardian, or custodian; and
(5) provides a reasonable opportunity for participation by the child's parent, guardian, or custodian.
 Although the statute requires the juvenile court to select the least restrictive placement, the statute allows for a more restrictive placement under certain circumstances. M.C., 134 N.E.3d at 459. That is, the statute requires placement in the least restrictive setting only “[i]f consistent with the safety of the community and the best interest of the child[.]” See I.C. § 31-37-18-6. Thus, the statute recognizes that, in certain situations, the best interest of the child is better served by a more restrictive placement because “commitment to a public institution is in the best interest of the juvenile and society.” M.C., 134 N.E.3d at 459 (internal quotation marks and citation omitted).
 Our review of the record reveals that A.S., over a two-year period, had been given numerous opportunities to be in a less restrictive placement. Specifically, A.S. had been offered out-patient services, services at his home, services at four different residential facilities, and probation. In every instance, A.S. failed to comply with the terms of his probation or the rules of the facility where he was placed. Specifically, among other things, A.S. had consistently violated placement rules, struck a police officer, took Father's car without Father's permission and drove it to Virginia, fled a residential facility, and tested positive for marijuana. In light of A.S.’s history and the failure of these less restrictive measures, the juvenile court did not abuse its discretion when it committed A.S. to the DOC. See J.T., 111 N.E.3d at 1027.
Vaidik, J., and Mathias, J., concur.
Response sent, thank you
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Docket No: Court of Appeals Case No. 22A-JV-2757
Decided: May 31, 2023
Court: Court of Appeals of Indiana.
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