Searching over 5,500,000 cases.


searching
Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

In re Welfare of Children of A. R. B.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

January 26, 2018

In the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of: A. R. B. and D. T. R., Parents

         Hennepin County District Court File No. 27-JV-16-52

          Mary F. Moriarty, Chief Hennepin County Public Defender, David W. Merchant, Assistant Public Defender, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for appellant D.T.R.)

          Michael O. Freeman, Hennepin County Attorney, Mary M. Lynch, Assistant County Attorney, Minneapolis, Minnesota (for respondent Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department)

          Shirley A. Reider, St. Paul, Minnesota (for guardian ad litem)

          Considered and decided by Bratvold, Presiding Judge; Ross, Judge; and Johnson, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         A county does not satisfy its obligation under Minnesota Statutes, section 260C.219(a)(2)(i) (2016), to make reasonable efforts to reunite a family before terminating a father's parental rights when the county fails to produce a written case plan as described in section 260C.212, subdivision 1 (2016), and the county is not excused of the obligation by a father's brief opposition to participating in developing a case plan.

          OPINION

          ROSS, JUDGE.

         The district court terminated a father's parental rights after it found that he failed to complete a case plan to correct the conditions that led to his son's out-of-home placement. But the county's social-services agency never prepared a written case plan as required by statute, even after the father, who was incarcerated, requested one. And it made no effort to assist him in identifying any potentially suitable programming available to him while he was in prison that may have facilitated his opportunity to reunify with the child. Because the county failed to make reasonable efforts to reunite father and son, we reverse the decision terminating parental rights and remand for the district court to direct the county to provide a case plan and allow a reasonable period for the father to complete it.

         FACTS

         D.T.R. and A.R.B. are the father and mother of M.W.R., who was born in January 2015. After the couple began their relationship in September 2013, D.T.R. became the stay-at-home father to A.R.B.'s other children. The romantic relationship was physically volatile and included methamphetamine use. Police responded to the couple's home several times to reports that D.T.R. abused A.R.B. or that the two were fighting. Soon after M.W.R.'s birth, the Hennepin County Human Services and Public Health Department filed a petition alleging that all of A.R.B.'s children were in need of protection or services. Beginning in early March 2015 and for the duration of the case, the children were placed in foster care.

         A county social worker (the first in a string of six or seven different social workers who would be assigned to manage this case) met with D.T.R. in May 2015 about developing a reunification case plan for him. But this was before the court adjudicated any of the children to be in need of protection or services, and D.T.R. told the social worker that he would work a case plan only after one was court-ordered. The next month, D.T.R. was jailed for unrelated criminal conduct involving theft.

         The following month, July 2015, the district court adjudicated the children to be in need of protection or services. D.T.R. was still incarcerated for his theft offense. At that time, the next in the series of social workers assigned to the case met with D.T.R. in the county jail. D.T.R. then told her that he realized the importance of working on a case plan to facilitate his reunification with the child, and he expressed his desire to do so. But the county did not immediately develop any case plan for D.T.R.'s consideration or for court approval.

         Six months into D.T.R.'s incarceration period, in January 2016, the county petitioned the district court to terminate D.T.R.'s and A.R.B.'s parental rights. During that six months, the county still had not developed a case plan for D.T.R. or for the district court's approval. In fact, the July 2015 jailhouse meeting was the last time any county social worker even met with D.T.R. about the possibility of a case plan, and the county never developed a case plan for him to complete at any point. One other social worker (the sixth in the series of social workers assigned to the case) ...


Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.