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In re Termination of Parent-Child Relationship of H.W.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 7, 2014

IN THE MATTER OF THE TERMINATION OF THE PARENT-CHILD RELATIONSHIP OF: H.W. (Minor Child) AND B.M. (Father); B.M., Appellant-Respondent,
v.
THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES, Appellee-Petitioner

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 MARION SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Marilyn A. Moores, Judge. The Honorable Larry E. Bradley, Magistrate. Cause No. 49D09-1303-JT-3326.

ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: LISA M. JOHNSON, Brownsburg, Indiana.

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

BAILEY, Judge. FRIEDLANDER, J., and KIRSCH, J., concur.

OPINION

MEMORANDUM DECISION - NOT FOR PUBLICATION

BAILEY, Judge.

Case Summary

B.M. (Father) appeals the termination of his parental rights upon petition of the Marion County Department of Child Services (DCS). Father's sole issue is whether DCS established by clear and convincing evidence the requisite statutory elements to support the termination. We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

H.W. was born on October 31, 2004. Her parents are Father and R.W. (Mother). H.W. has lived with her maternal grandmother (Grandmother) since she was an infant pursuant to an informal verbal agreement between Mother and Grandmother. In February 2012, Mother gave birth to J.W., who tested positive for cocaine and opiates.[1] Mother admitted to a DCS case worker that she had used cocaine and Vicodin during the first six months of her pregnancy and smoked a cigarette laced with cocaine two days prior to giving birth. She also told the case worker that her current housing was not appropriate for her newborn son. During the course of its investigation, DCS learned that H.W. had never lived with her mother. On February 29, 2012, DSC filed a petition alleging that H.W. and J.W. were Children in Need of Services. Both children were placed in relative care with Grandmother.

According to the petition, Father's address was unknown. The DCS case worker was unable to find him in any databases. In April 2012, however, the case worker determined that Father was incarcerated in Ohio. Although Father was incarcerated during the proceedings, the court appointed counsel to represent him at the hearings. On June 12, 2012, the court adjudicated H.W. and J.W. to be children in need of services. A January 2013 review hearing revealed that Father had been released from incarceration in Ohio but had failed to contact DCS. Father's counsel advised the court that he had had no contact with his client. DCS requested that the permanency plan be changed from reunification with parents to adoption.

On January 28, 2013, DCS filed a Petition to Terminate the Parental Relationships between H.W. and her parents, and J.W. and his parents. Testimony at the July 24, 2013, termination hearing revealed that Father's criminal history includes 2005 convictions for child molesting as a class C felony and dealing in a sawed off shotgun. He was incarcerated in Ohio for armed robbery. When he was discharged from prison in Ohio in June 2012, he was incarcerated in Indiana for failing to register as a sex offender. He was released from prison in Indiana on January 31, 2013. Although the ...


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