IN THE MATTER OF: L.P., A CHILD ALLEGED TO BE A CHILD IN NEED OF SERVICES, K.K., MOTHER, Appellant-Respondent,
THE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES, Appellee-Petitioner
APPEAL FROM THE SULLIVAN SUPERIOR COURT. The Honorable Robert E. Springer, Judge. Cause No. 77D01-1306-JC-18.
ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT: EDWARD A. MCGLONE, Terre Haute, Indiana.
ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE: GREGORY F. ZOELLER, Attorney General of Indiana, ROBERT J. HENKE, CHRISTINA D. PACE, Deputy Attorneys General, Indianapolis, Indiana.
BAILEY, Judge. KIRSCH, J., and MAY, J., concur.
K.K. ("Mother") appeals the determination that her child, L.P., was a Child in Need of Services ("CHINS"). She presents the sole issue of whether the evidence was sufficient to support that determination. We reverse.
Facts and Procedural History
On June 14, 2013, a caseworker from the Sullivan County Department of Child Services (" DCS" ) visited Mother's home as a result of a hotline report, observed that Mother was on her way out to work, and then requested that Mother come to the DCS offices at a more convenient time for an interview. Mother agreed to do so. On June 17, 2013, Mother submitted to an oral drug screen and tested positive for methamphetamine.
DCS removed L.P. to the residence of his maternal great-grandmother and initiated CHINS proceedings. Over the next several weeks, Mother voluntarily submitted to additional drug screens; all were negative. At a fact-finding hearing conducted on August 7, 2013, case manager Michele May testified that Mother had one positive and ten negative drug screens. She opined that L.P. appeared to be " well-cared for," and further testified that she had no reason to believe that Mother had any continued involvement with a houseguest whose presence had caused DCS concern. (Tr. 38.) At the conclusion of the hearing, the juvenile court commended Mother for her employment and " exemplary" conduct during the proceedings but observed that methamphetamine has caused " tragic" effects in the county and DCS has a " zero tolerance level for that" with which the court affirmatively agreed. (Tr. 67-68.) The juvenile court entered its conclusion of law, findings of fact, and
order determining L.P. to be a CHINS, as follows:
The Court being duly advised finds that the child's date of birth is January 22, 2013 and is six (6) years [sic] of age, and is a child in need of services as alleged by the petition.
The Court now finds that said child is a child in need of services as defined by IC 31-34-1-1. In support for this conclusion of law, the following findings of fact are found: The mother admitted to using methamphetamine shortly before the initiation of the ...