In the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of: S. M. M. and D. A. L., Parents
Winona County District Court File Nos. 85-JV-12-367, 85-JV-12-177
Karin Sonneman, Winona County Attorney, Susan E. Cooper, Assistant County Attorney, Winona, Minnesota (for respondent county).
Samuel D. Jandt, La Crescent, Minnesota (for respondent father).
Kurt J. Knuesel, Pflughoeft, Pederson, Johnsrud & Knuesel, LLP, Winona, Minnesota (for appellant mother).
Catherine Schofield, Winona, Minnesota (guardian ad litem for children).
Paul Janzen, Wabasha, Minnesota (guardian ad litem for mother).
Considered and decided by Johnson, Presiding Judge; Hooten, Judge; and Smith, Judge.
We affirm the district court's order terminating appellant's parental rights because referral of appellant for civil commitment was not a "reasonable service" that the respondent county was required to provide as part of a reunification plan.
Winona County Human Services became involved with appellant S.M.M. in 2008 after concerns arose about the effects that her drug and alcohol use might have on her infant child. The county received additional reports throughout 2009 and 2010, by which time S.M.M. had two children. S.M.M. underwent a chemical dependency evaluation in 2010, resulting in a recommendation that she receive inpatient treatment for substance abuse and mental health issues. S.M.M. did not receive inpatient treatment, however.
The county received another report of concerns about S.M.M.'s chemical dependency and mental health in March 2012. The county convened a family group decision making conference. During the conference, S.M.M. "fell apart . . . sobbing hysterically." She reported that she was afflicted with a malign "spirit" that sought to harm her and her children. She appeared "psychotic, " but eventually calmed down and consented to the children being placed in foster care.
After the children were placed in foster care, the county developed out-of-home placement plans designed to "get a plan in place to get the kids back home with their parents." S.M.M. signed the plans. The plans included several services to assist S.M.M., including a chemical dependency evaluation, a mental health assessment, and transportation assistance. S.M.M. made no requests for additional services. But S.M.M. made little progress towards addressing her mental health and chemical dependency issues. The county had difficulty contacting S.M.M. and convincing her to see her psychiatrist. S.M.M. also had little insight into her chemical dependency issues, and she repeatedly tested positive for amphetamines, and on one occasion, marijuana. S.M.M. claimed that her positive drug test results were caused by ...