In the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of: K.J.H. and M.E.R., Parents.
Itasca County District Court File No. 31-JV-12-2897
Darla M. Nubson, Nubson Law Office, PLLC, Grand Rapids, Minnesota (for appellant mother K.J.H.)
John J. Muhar, Itasca County Attorney, Michael J. Haig, Assistant County Attorney, Grand Rapids, Minnesota (for respondent Itasca County Human Services)
Kim Allen, Grand Rapids, Minnesota (Guardian ad Litem)
Corey G. Bakken, Grand Rapids, Minnesota (trial counsel for father M.E.R.)
Considered and decided by Connolly, Presiding Judge; Stoneburner, Judge; and Rodenberg, Judge.
Appellant mother challenges the termination of her parental rights to two children, arguing that the record does not support the statutory grounds asserted in respondent-county's petition to terminate her parental rights and that the record does not show that termination of her parental rights is in the children's best interests. Mother also asserts that the district court should have returned the children to her care under county supervision. We affirm.
A.C.R was born to appellant K.J.H. (mother) in September 2006 and, because mother used chemicals during her pregnancy, was the subject of a child-protection report the next day. J.J.R. was born to mother in February 2009. M.E.R. (father) is the father of both children. Before mother and father separated in August 2010, the children were exposed to their parents' drug use and resultant impaired parenting; father's domestic assaults against mother; father's destruction of property when angry; yelling, name-calling, and threats; and interventions by law enforcement. For 14 to 18 months after the parents separated, mother moved the children from residence to residence. During this time, mother and the children were intermittently homeless.
In October 2011, in Itasca County, mother got into a fight with the police who were called to a residence from which mother was under an order to stay away. The children were with mother, and they were sick, cold, hungry, wet, and outside in their pajamas. As a result of the fight, mother pleaded guilty to gross-misdemeanor obstructing legal process. The children were placed on an emergency hold, and the county filed a CHIPS petition asserting that the children were in need of protective services due to mother's inability to provide proper parental care.
Mother admitted the CHIPS petition, and the children were placed in foster care in the temporary custody of the county. The county provided medical checkups and extensive dental care needed by both children. Some of A.C.R.'s teeth required extraction, and J.J.R. needed dental surgery.
When the county took custody of the children, each child exhibited behavioral problems. A.C.R. was diagnosed with "disruptive behavior disorder" and found eligible for mental health services which were implemented by the county. In October 2012, A.C.R. underwent further assessment and was diagnosed with "anxiety disorder" and "disruptive behavior." The assessor found that A.C.R. "presents as not knowing what to expect from the adults in her life [and] struggles with emotional regulation." Initially, J.J.R. was diagnosed with "adjustment disorder." She was also found eligible for mental health services which were implemented by the county. In a subsequent assessment in the fall of 2012, she was diagnosed with "deprivation/maltreatment disorder[, ]" as being "sensory stimulation-seeking impulsive[, ]" and as ...