Archive | Termination of parental rights

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In the Matter of AS & AM

In the Matter of AS & AM, 2016 MT 156 (June 28, 2016) (Rice, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion and violated Mother’s constitutional rights by terminating her parental rights; and (2) whether the district court lacked jurisdiction and abused its discretion in terminating Father’s parental rights to AS. 

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: AS was born in 2011, and AM was born in 2008. DPHHS became involved with the family in 2014 upon receiving reports that Father, Mother, and Mother’s boyfriend were involved with methamphetamine. The department found AS but did not find father. AS was placed into protective custody, and the parents were served by publication.

A few months later, Mother called the department and told a child protective specialist she was in Great Falls and wanted to pick up her daughter.  …

In the Matter of KB

In the Matter of KB, 2016 MT 73 (March 29, 2016) (McKinnon, J.) (7-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court lacked subject matter jurisdiction over KB’s abuse and neglect proceeding, and (2) whether Father received ineffective assistance of counsel.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: KB was removed from her mother’s care in November 2012, at the age of 5, due to concerns about Mother’s inability to protect KB from domestic violence. KB was placed in kinship foster care with her aunt and uncle, where she has remained. Her younger sister, TH, also lives with aunt and uncle.

KB was adjudicated a youth in need of care in 2013, and the Department drafted a treatment plan for Father.…

In the Matter of JB, Jr.

In the Matter of JB, Jr., 2016 MT 68 (March 22, 2016) (Rice, J.; McKinnon, J, concurring; Baker, J., dissenting) (5-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in holding that the treatment plan was appropriate, and (2) whether the district court abuse its discretion in terminating Father’s parental rights.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: When JB was just a few weeks old, his parents took him shoplifting. Father was on probation and had two outstanding felony warrants for his arrest. The Department investigated and petitioned for protective services, adjudication of JB as a youth in need of care, and temporary legal custody. JB was placed in foster care with his sibling, EB, and Father was sentenced to 10 years suspended on each of the two outstanding felonies, to run concurrently with another unspecified sentence he was serving.…

In the Matter of the Adoption of AMS, MAS, and AWS

In the Matter of the Adoption of AMS, MAS, and AWS, 2016 MT 22 (Jan. 26, 2016) (Baker, J.) (7-0, rev’d)

Issue: (1) Whether Father was properly served by publication, and (2) whether the district court erred by granting the petition for adoption and termination.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) yes.

Reversed and remanded

Facts: Father and Mother are the biological parents of three minor children. Grandfather is the children’s maternal grandfather. Father and Mother married in 2005 and divorced in 2013. Mother and Grandfather live in Billings, and Father lives in Los Angeles.…

In the Matter of CWE and CME

In the Matter of CWE and CME, 2016 MT 2 (Jan. 5, 2016) (McKinnon, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in concluding that the conduct or condition that made Mother unfit to parent was unlikely to change in a reasonable time; (2) whether the district court improperly relied on the statutory presumption in § 41-3-604(1), MCA, to conclude that termination of Mother’s parental interests was in her children’s best interests; and (3) whether Mother received ineffective assistance of counsel.

Short Answer: (1) No; (2) no; and (3) no.

Affirmed

Facts: DPHHS removed CWE, age 7, and CME, age 5, from Mother’s care after 17 referrals over a period of three years alleging abuse or neglect.  CWE currently lives with his father in Livingston, and CMW lives with his father in Oklahoma.…

In re the Adoption of PTH

In re the Adoption of PTH, 2015 MT 316 (Nov. 10, 2015) (McGrath, C.J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred by giving full faith and credit to the parenting plan and child support order entered by the California court; and (2) whether the district court erred by refusing to terminate Father’s parental rights.

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: PTH was born in 2008 to TC, Mother, and RH, Father. The parents divorced and agreed to a parenting plan approved by the county court in California, where they lived. According to the parenting plan, RH was not required to pay any child support. Neither parent has moved to modify the parenting plan or child support provision.…

In the Matter of CM, BM, AM, EM, and DM

In the Matter of CM, BM, AM, EM, and DM, 2015 MT 292 (Oct. 13, 2015) (Baker, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in concluding that Mother’s conduct or condition that made her unfit to parent was unlikely to change within a reasonable time; and (2) whether the district court abused its discretion in terminating Mother’s parental rights.

Short Answer: (1) No; and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: DPPHS removed the children, ages 16 month to 9 years, from Mother’s home in 2014 after finding methamphetamine there. Four of the children tested positive for meth exposure. In April 2014, Mother stipulated to adjudication of the children as youths in need of care and the court granted temporary custody to the Department.…

In re TDH, JH, & JH

In re TDH, JH, & JH, 2015 MT 244 (Aug. 18, 2015) (Baker. J.; McKinnon, J., concurring & dissenting) (4-1, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court abused its discretion in rescinding OPD’s appointment of counsel for Ja.H. and denying OPD’s motion to appoint counsel after the termination hearing; (2) whether the district court abused its discretion in concluding Mother’s conduct made her unfit to parent and was unlikely to change within a reasonable time; (3) whether DPHHS made reasonable efforts to prevent the removal of the children and reunify Mother with her children; and (4) whether Mother was denied due process.

Short Answer: (1) The Court declines to reach this issue; (2) no; (3) yes; and (4) no.

Affirmed

Facts: Mother met Father when she was a 17-year-old runaway, after years of abuse.…

In re JWM and AKM

In re JWM and AKM, 2015 MT 231 (Aug. 11, 2015) (Cotter, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether substantial evidence existed to support termination of biological father’s parental rights, and (2) whether father was adequately represented at hearing.

Short Answer: (1) Yes, and (2) yes.

Affirmed

Facts: CM and JM are the biological parents of AKM and JWM, born in 2007 and 2008. Following their 2009 divorce in Colorado, CM moved to Montana with the children. She registered the Colorado judgment in Cascade County in December 2011. In June 2012, CM married RH, who wants to adopt the children.

The Colorado divorce decree ordered JM to submit to monthly drug testing and provide the results to CM. If he failed a test or did not submit the results to CM, hs would relinquish visitation until he provided the results of a clean test.…

In the Matter of JO

In the Matter of JO, 2015 MT 229 (Aug. 11, 2015) (Wheat, J.) (5-0, aff’d)

Issue: (1) Whether the district court erred in determining DPHHS made reasonable efforts to provide reunification services; and (2) whether the district court abused its discretion when it terminated CS’s parental rights.

Short Answer: (1) No, and (2) no.

Affirmed

Facts: JO was born in 2007 to CS, his mother. JO was removed from CS’s care twice as a result of CS’s criminal conduct before CS’s parental rights were eventually terminated on Jan. 20, 2015. She appeals the termination.

CS was serving a suspended sentence in 2010 for bad checks when she was discovered in possession of drug paraphernalia, and tested positive for several drugs.…