IN RE THE INVOLUNTARY TERMINATION OF THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP OF D.D. and J.D.
THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES, Appellee-Petitioner D.H. (Mother) and J.P.D. (Father), Appellants-Respondents,
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 DELAWARE CIRCUIT COURT. The Honorable Kimberly Dowling, Judge. The Honorable Brian Pierce, Magistrate. Cause No. 18C02-1205-JT-12, Cause No. 18C02-1205-JT-13.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: D.H., MEGAN B. QUIRK, Public Defender, Muncie, Indiana.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: J.P.D., KRISTIN R. WILLADSEN, Public Defender, Muncie, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General, ROBERT J. HENKE, Deputy Attorney General, DAVID E. COREY, Deputy Attorney General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
FRIEDLANDER, Judge. KIRSCH, J., and BAILEY, J., concur.
MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION
D.H. (Mother) and J.P.D. (Father) (collectively, the Parents) appeal the involuntary termination of their parental rights to two of their children, D.D. and J.D. (collectively, the Children). Mother and Father challenge the sufficiency of the evidence supporting the juvenile court's judgment.
The Parents have produced five biological children together. Their parental rights to their three eldest children were terminated in May 2005. This appeal concerns the termination of the Parent's parental rights to their two subsequently-born sons, D.D. and J.D. By April 2011, the Parents had ended their relationship, and D.D. and J.D., who were at that time five and three years old, respectively, were living with Father. On April 29, 2011, the Department of Child Services (DCS) took custody of the Children when Father was arrested for drug offenses and probation violations. On May 2, 2011, DCS filed a Child in Need of Services (CHINS) petition alleging that the Children were CHINS because Father had been arrested and no caregiver was available for the Children. On the same day, the juvenile court held a detention hearing, placed the Children with Mother, and referred the case to a program of informal adjustment.
A little over two weeks later, Mother was arrested for Drug Court violations. Because Father was still incarcerated, DCS again took custody of the Children and filed a second CHINS petition. An initial hearing was held on May 31, 2011, at which Mother admitted that the Children were CHINS, and Father denied the allegations. The Children were subsequently adjudicated CHINS and wardship was granted to DCS.
Father pleaded guilty to class D felony maintaining a common nuisance and class A misdemeanor possession of marijuana and was sentenced accordingly. Father was released from jail in July 2011, and the Children were placed in his care shortly thereafter. Less than a month later, however, Father, who suffers from bipolar disorder and post-traumatic stress disorder, had a nervous breakdown and was admitted to the Marion VA Hospital for treatment. During this time, Father left the Children with an unauthorized caregiver, and the Children's whereabouts were initially unknown to the Family Case Manager (FCM). Once the Children were located, they were placed in foster ...