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In re Welfare of Child of K.-A.M.C.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 19, 2013

In the Matter of the Welfare of the Child of: K.-A. M. C. and A. L. W., Parents.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Anoka County District Court File No. 02-JV-12-69

Gary Alan Debele, Melissa J. Chawla, Walling, Berg & Debele, P.A., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant)

Anthony C. Palumbo, Anoka County Attorney, C. Donald LeBaron, Assistant County Attorney, Anoka, Minnesota (for respondent)

Megan Hunt Schlueter, Hunt Law Office, Stillwater, Minnesota (for guardian ad litem)

Considered and decided by Stauber, Presiding Judge; Schellhas, Judge; and Hooten, Judge.

SCHELLHAS, JUDGE

Appellant, a paternal aunt of a child to whom parental rights were terminated, appeals the juvenile court's denial of her motion for permissive intervention in post-termination proceedings. Respondent moves to dismiss the appeal as moot because the juvenile court has granted the child's adoption by his long-time foster parents. We deny respondent's motion to dismiss, and we affirm the juvenile court's denial of appellant's motion to intervene.

FACTS

This case involves a child who was born on March 18, 2009. On July 22, 2011, the juvenile court ordered the out-of-home placement of the child in juvenile-protection proceedings that culminated in the termination of the parental rights (TPR) of the child's parents. Initially, respondent Anoka County Social Services placed the child in a non-relative foster home. The county then attempted placements of the child with his paternal great aunt and uncle and, subsequently, with his paternal grandmother. Both relative placements failed because the parents harassed the relative foster-care providers, who requested that the child be removed from their care. On August 22, 2011, respondent returned the child to his initial foster-home placement.

In early December 2011, the child's maternal grandmother expressed interest in being a placement option for the child but later changed her mind. On January 17, 2012, the county petitioned for TPR of both of the child's parents. In early February 2012, the paternal grandmother renewed her interest in being a permanency option for the child but again changed her mind. On February 2, appellant, the child's paternal aunt, informed the county that she wanted to be a permanency option for the child, withdrew her name from consideration on February 29, and, the next day, again expressed her interest in being a permanency option for the child by leaving the county a voicemail message. But, on March 6, appellant left the county another voicemail message, stating again that she would not be a permanency option for the child.

On April 17, after the child's paternal great aunt again offered and withdrew her name as a permanency option, the juvenile court granted the county's request to be relieved of the obligation to find a relative placement for the child.[1] On April 21, at appellant's request, the child's foster mother made the child available for family pictures. At about this time, the child's foster parents sought respite care because of the child's behavioral problems. Appellant was aware that the county continued to consider permanency options for the child.

The TPR trial commenced May 1, and appellant attended at least a portion of the trial during which she told a county social worker that she wanted to adopt the child. The social worker told her that her request was too late. In an order filed May 15, the juvenile court terminated the parental rights of both parents to the then three-year-old child. This court affirmed the TPR as to both parents on October 22, 2012. In re Welfare of Child of K.-A.M.C., No. A12-0964, 2012 WL 5188335, at *1 (Minn.App. Oct. 22, 2012).

On December 24, appellant sent the county a letter, stating, among other things, that she wanted to rescind her decision "not to pursue legal adoption of [the child] and to begin any necessary legal process for his adoption, " and that she approached the social worker with the request at court in May 2012, and that the social worker told her that it was too late. Appellant filed her letter in juvenile court in early ...


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