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In re M.O.

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 21, 2017

In the Matter of M.O., A Child in Need of Services,
v.
Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner, M.O., Child, Appellant-Respondent, N.M., Mother, and Mi.O., Father, Appellees-Respondents, and Child Advocates, Inc., Appellee-Guardian ad Litem.

         Appeal from the Marion Superior Court The Honorable Marilyn A. Moores, Judge The Honorable Geoffrey Gaither, Magistrate Trial Court Cause No. 49D09-1505-JC-1729

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLANT M.O. (CHILD) Ruth Johnson Valerie K. Boots Marion County Public Defender Agency Appellate Division Indianapolis, Indiana Jill M. Acklin McNeely Stephenson Shelbyville, Indiana

          ATTORNEYS FOR APPELLEE INDIANA DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SERVICES Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General of Indiana Robert J. Henke David E. Corey Deputy Attorneys General Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE N.M. (MOTHER) Megan Shipley Marion County Public Defender Agency Appellate Division Indianapolis, Indiana

          ATTORNEY FOR APPELLEE MI.O. (FATHER) Darren Bedwell Marion County Public Defender Agency Appellate Division Indianapolis, Indiana

          Kirsch, Judge.

         [¶1] M.O. ("Child") appeals the juvenile court's adjudication, finding her to be a Child in Need of Services ("CHINS"). We consolidate and restate the issues raised by the parties as:

I. Whether the juvenile court erred in adjudicating Child as a CHINS on grounds different than those set forth in the CHINS petition; and
II. Whether there was sufficient evidence presented to support the CHINS adjudication.

         [¶2] We affirm.

         Facts and Procedural History

         [¶3] Child was born on November 11, 1998 to N.M. ("Mother") and Mi.O. ("Father") (together, "Parents"). Child was sixteen at the time that the present CHINS case was filed. Child gave birth to her first son, J., when she was fourteen years old, and J. was two years old when the present case was filed. The Indiana Department of Child Services ("DCS") had an open CHINS case for J., and he had been placed with Father. Child gave birth to her second son, A., on March 31, 2015. When the present case was filed, Child and A. were living at the St. Joseph Carmelite Home in East Chicago ("Carmelite Home"). Child's placement in the Carmelite Home was arranged by the Marion County Probation Department due to the fact that Child was on probation for a juvenile delinquency case.

         [¶4] On May 3, 2015, DCS received a report that the probation department was planning to close Child's case and that Child's placement in the Carmelite Home would end when the case was closed. At that time, DCS family case manager Shannon Pickering ("FCM Pickering") began an assessment of Child, but was unable to speak with Child because Child refused to speak with anyone from DCS on the phone. FCM Pickering spoke with both Mother and Father to determine if Child could live with either of them. Father told FCM Pickering that he was not willing to have Child placed in his home because he was concerned that Child was still exhibiting aggressive behaviors toward adults and authority figures and worried that she would continue those behaviors if she was placed in his home. Mother refused to take a drug screen, which was a prerequisite to having Child placed in her home, and FCM Pickering, therefore, did not feel comfortable placing Child in Mother's home. Based on this information, FCM Pickering and her supervisors believed that coercive intervention was necessary to provide Child with housing and mental health treatment. On May 27, 2015, DCS filed a petition alleging that Child was a CHINS pursuant to Indiana Code section 31-34-1-1 ("CHINS 1"), which involves parental inaction or neglect. On June 25, 2015, Parents filed a notice of intent that they wished to assert that Child was a CHINS pursuant to Indiana Code section 31-34-1-6 ("CHINS 6"), which involves the child's own behaviors endangering herself or others.

         [¶5] Child left the Carmelite House at the end of June 2015 and was placed in relative care with her cousin on July 21, 2015. About a week after being placed with her cousin, Child ran away after a confrontation with her cousin. On July 30, 2015, a pretrial conference was held, at which FCM Brittny Smith ("FCM Smith") recommended emergency shelter care for Child because, at that time, "no relative [was] able to handle [Child's] behaviors." Tr. at 11. Mother testified at the hearing that Child could not live with her because Mother did ...


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