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In re Involuntary Termination of Parent-Child Relationship of N.G. (Minor Child)

Court of Appeals of Indiana

October 6, 2016

In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of N.G. (Minor Child),
v.
The Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner and N.R.G. (Mother), Appellant-Respondent,

         Appeal from the St. Joseph Probate Court The Honorable James N. Fox, Judge Trial Court Cause No. 71J01-1407-JT-111

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLANT Laura M. Longstreet Longstreet Law, LLC South Bend, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE Gregory F. Zoeller Attorney General of Indiana Robert J. Henke Abigail R. Recker Deputy Attorneys General Indianapolis, Indiana

          CRONE, JUDGE

         Case Summary

         [¶1] N.R.G ("Mother") appeals the termination of her parental relationship with her daughter, N.G. She raises three issues, one of which we find dispositive: whether the trial court's findings of fact are sufficient to satisfy the statutory mandate found in Indiana Code Section 31-35-2-8(c). Concluding that the trial court's findings of fact are deficient, we remand for proper findings that support the judgment terminating Mother's parental rights.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶2] In January 2013, four-year-old N.G. and her sixteen-year-old brother D.W. were removed from the home of Mother and D.G.W. ("Father") on a report of physical abuse, stemming from an incident in which Father allegedly punched D.W. in the face. Shortly thereafter, the St. Joseph County Department of Child Services ("DCS") filed a petition to have N.G. designated a Child in Need of Services ("CHINS").[1] The trial court entered an order designating N.G. a CHINS and ordering services for both Mother and N.G., with a goal of reunification.

         [¶3] In July 2014, DCS filed a petition for termination of Mother's parental relationship with N.G. At the time of the petition, N.G. was residing in relative placement with her aunt ("Aunt"). At some point before the September 2015 final hearing, Aunt indicated that she could no longer keep N.G., and N.G. was placed in a pre-adoptive foster home.

         [¶4] In January 2016, the trial court issued an order terminating the parental relationship between Mother and N.G.[2] The findings of fact and conclusions of law are as follows:

[N.G.] is the biological child of [Mother];
[Father] is the biological father of [N.G.];
The parental rights of [Father] were previously terminated by this Court;
That the Court found [N.G.] was a removed from the care of her parents on ...

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