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In re Termination of Parent-Child Relationship of C.M.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

February 24, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE TERMINATION OF THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP OF: C.M. & J.H. (Minor Children) and C.M. (Mother), Appellant-Respondent,

Editorial Note:

These opinions are not precedents and cannot be cited or relied upon unless used when establishing res judicata or collateral estoppel or in actions between the same party. Indiana Rules of Appellate Procedure 65(D).

APPEAL FROM THE LAKE SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Thomas Webber, Sr., Judge Pro Tempore. Cause Nos. 45D06-1106-JT-165 and 45D06-1106-JT-163.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: DEIDRE L. MONROE, Lake Superior Court, Juvenile Division, Public Defender's Office, Gary, Indiana.

ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana; ROBERT J. HENKE, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.

BAKER, Judge. NAJAM, J., and CRONE, J., concur.



BAKER, Judge.

In this termination of parental rights appeal, the evidence established that C.M. (Mother) was unwilling to take action to treat her mental illness and, therefore, unable and unwilling to provide the necessary care to her two children, C.M., born on July 18, 2003, and J.H., born on September 23, 2005 (collectively, the Children). Mother contends that the Indiana Department of Child Services (DCS) failed to prove, by clear and convincing evidence, that the conditions that led to the removal of the children would not be remedied and that termination was in the Children's best interest. In particular, Mother argued that the juvenile court erred when it relied on the testimony of a psychologist that had only met Mother once. We find that Mother's arguments are a request to impermissibly reweigh the evidence, which this Court will not do. Accordingly, we affirm the juvenile court's decisions to terminate Mother's parental rights.


On December 9, 2009, the DCS received a report from the East Chicago Indiana Police Department, who had been called to Mother's home concerning a landlord/tenant dispute. The responding officers found that Mother was behaving erratically and were concerned that the children appeared to be hungry. That same day, the DCS conducted its assessment and found that: 1) Mother appeared confused and disoriented; 2) Mother could not give demographic information about the Children, including dates of birth or first and last names; 3) Mother had not paid rent and had to vacate her apartment within twenty-four hours and did not know where she would stay; 4) Mother was hospitalized in 2008 and the Children were removed from Mother's care; and 5) Mother did not take her prescribed medicine.

The Children told the DCS family case manager that Mother was afraid of the light bulbs in the apartment because she believed that cameras were hidden inside the light bulbs, that Mother thinks the Children are the enemy and calls them bad robots, and that she believes J.H. has a chip in his ear and tells J.H. not to listen to the chip. The Children also told the family case manager that Mother is better when she takes her medication. There was no food in the house, and the Children stated that there was never any food in the home. Law enforcement transported Mother to a local hospital for a mental health evaluation, and the DCS placed the Children in foster care.

On March 5, 2010, the juvenile court held a CHINS factfinding hearing, where the juvenile court heard evidence and adjudicated the Children as CHINS. At the dispositional hearing on March 23, 2010, the juvenile court issued its Order on the CHINS Disposition Hearing, wherein the court granted the DCS wardship of the Children. Mother was ordered to participate in psychological and psychiatric evaluations and to follow recommended treatment. Additionally, the juvenile court ordered supervised visitation, family and individual counseling, homebased case management, and a parenting assessment and follow-up.

Mother received her evaluation but refused to grant the DCS access to her medical records to determine if Mother was properly following the doctor's recommendation. The DCS attempted to schedule a psychological evaluation, but service providers informed the DCS that, until Mother was ...

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