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In re Welfare of Children of A. M. F.

Court of Appeals of Minnesota

August 19, 2019

In re the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of: A. M. F., J. G.-T. N., and C. L. B., Parents.

          Beltrami County District Court File No. 04-JV-18-1233

          Lucas J.M. Dawson, Groshek Law, (for appellant great grandmother L.O.)

          David L. Hanson, Beltrami County Attorney, Elysia Nguyen, Assistant County Attorney, (for respondent Beltrami County)

          Jose Hernandez, International Falls, (for respondent guardian ad litem)

          Considered and decided by Reyes, Presiding Judge; Smith, Tracy M., Judge; and Florey, Judge.

         SYLLABUS

         The plain language of Minn. Stat. § 260C.607, subd. 6(a)(1) (2018), requires a relative or foster parent to have, at the time the relative or foster parent moves for an order for adoptive placement, a completed adoption home study under Minn. Stat. § 259.41 (2018), approving the relative or foster parent for adoption.

         OPINION

          FLOREY, JUDGE.

         On appeal from the district court's denial of her motion for permanent adoptive placement, appellant L.O., the maternal great grandmother of the children at issue, E.D.F. and E.M.F., argues that the district court erred in concluding that Minn. Stat. § 260C.607, subd. 6(a)(1), required her to have a completed home study at the time she filed the motion because, according to appellant, the home study was not due until the time of placement. We affirm.

         FACTS

         In February 2017, respondent Beltrami County Health and Human Services (BCHHS) received a report that A.M.F., the mother of E.D.F. and E.M.F., was under the influence of drugs. Following a welfare check by law enforcement, the children were placed in out-of-home care, and a relative search was conducted. In April 2017, appellant responded to the relative search, stating that she could not be a placement option due to her and her husband's health concerns.

         In April 2018, BCHHS filed a petition for termination of parental rights. The district court granted the petition and transferred guardianship and legal custody of the children to the commissioner of human services. At the time, E.D.F. and E.M.F. were staying in a pre-adoptive relative home with their maternal great aunt, R.F. However, in August 2018, BCHHS was notified that R.F. was using drugs, and, consequently, the children were moved out of R.F.'s home and transferred to a new foster-care placement.

         In September 2018, BCHHS informed appellant that it was considering a non-relative-adoptive placement. At a review hearing on October 30, 2018, appellant expressed an interest in adoption. A few days later, appellant and her husband met with BCHHS case manager, Jody Wilkinson. During the meeting, appellant expressed her desire to be considered as an adoptive option for the children. Due to appellant's stated interest, BCHHS sent a home-study referral to North Homes. North ...


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