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In re Welfare of Child of T. L.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 26, 2013

In the Matter of the Welfare of the Child of: T. L., Parent.

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Ramsey County District Court File No. 62-JV-12-2255

Denise S. Rahne, Seth A. Nielsen, Robins Kaplan Miller & Ciresi L.L.P., Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant I.F.)

Bruce Jones, Tyler A. Young, Faegre Baker Daniels LLP, Minneapolis, Minnesota; Tammy J. Swanson, Swanson, Drobnick and Tousey P.C, Woodbury, Minnesota; and Shannon E. Smith, ICWA Law Center, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent T.L.)

John Choi, Ramsey County Attorney, Heather Capistrant, Assistant County Attorney, St. Paul, Minnesota (for respondent Ramsey County)

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge; Chutich, Judge; and Harten, Judge.

HARTEN, Judge [*]

Appellant challenges the district court denial of his motion to vacate the order dismissing his petition to have himself declared a child in need of protection or services (CHIPS). Because respondent Ramsey County Child Protection Services (RCCPS) has removed appellant from an allegedly abusive situation into out-of-home placement and is providing him with services, we affirm the denial.

FACTS

In 2010, respondent T.L., a member of the Omaha Tribe of Nebraska, adopted her nephew, appellant I.F., now age 14 and a member of the Omaha tribe, after the parental rights of I.F.'s biological parents had been terminated. In March 2012, appellant had run away from respondent's home and did not return.

In April 2012, respondent entered into a voluntary foster care agreement with RCCPS whereby she retains legal custody of appellant but RCCPS supervises his out-of-home placement. Although either party may terminate the agreement, the agreement enables RCCPS to timely intervene and oppose appellant's return to respondent by "fil[ing] a petition with the court alleging that return would not be in the best interests of the child."

Since March 2012, appellant has been placed in a shelter, then hospitalized for eight days in an adolescent psychiatric unit, then placed at various residential treatment facilities, all under RCCPS's supervision. He has not returned to respondent's home, and respondent has made no effort to seek his return.

In June 2012, appellant petitioned the district court to have himself declared CHIPS, claiming that respondent, with whom he no longer lived, abused him. Respondent, RCCPS, and the tribe asked that the petition be dismissed. The district court dismissed the petition as invalid because appellant was then in a safe placement and was receiving services from RCCPS. Accordingly, the petition facially alleged no facts to compel a CHIPS finding and was therefore inadequate to compel a CHIPS adjudication.

In September 2012, appellant moved to vacate the order, asserting that the April 2012 voluntary agreement between respondent and RCCPS did not provide appellant with sufficient protection against the possibility that respondent would seek to have him live with her again. Respondent and the ...


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