Lyon County District Court File No. J5-02-50462
Considered and decided by Toussaint, Chief Judge, Lansing, Judge, and
In a termination-of-parental-rights proceeding under Minn. Stat. §á260C.301 (2002), the district court must consider the best interests of the child and address that consideration in its findings of fact and conclusions of law.
The opinion of the court was delivered by: Lansing, Judge
The district court terminated Amy Tanghe's parental rights for failure to correct conditions that resulted in her children's placement outside the home. Because the district court did not address the children's best interests in the original or amended order, we remand for findings on whether termination is in the children's best interests.
Amy Tanghe is the mother of three children, ages six, four, and two years. In April 2002 Lincoln, Lyon, and Murray Human Services (collectively, "the county") filed a children in need of protection or services (CHIPS) petition on behalf of the children. The petition was based on multiple reports that Tanghe was abusing drugs, neglecting her children, and living in unsuitable housing. The county took immediate custody of the children and placed them with their maternal grandmother. The children were adjudicated in need of protection or services in late April, and the county developed a case plan for each child.
In September and October the county concluded that Tanghe was not complying with her responsibilities under the case plans, and, in December, the county petitioned to terminate Tanghe's parental rights. In the petition, the county alleged that reasonable efforts under the court's direction had failed to correct the conditions that lead to the children's placement outside their home and that the children were neglected and in foster care. The following month the county requested that the children be removed from their grandmother's care and placed in a foster home. The court authorized the transfer.
The court held a hearing on the termination petition in May 2003. Following the hearing the court issued an order terminating Tanghe's parental rights and the parental rights of the children's fathers. Tanghe appeals from the original and amended order, contending that the court failed to make findings on the children's best interests, the statutory grounds for termination have not been satisfied, and the court failed to consider Tanghe's current attempts to address her chemical dependency.
Does the absence of findings on the children's best interests in a termination-of-parental-rights proceeding under Minn. Stat. §á260C.301 ...