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In re I.R.S.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Southern District, First Division

August 26, 2014

IN THE INTEREST OF I.R.S., B.L.S., and C.A.T.S., J.L.T., Appellant,
v.
GREENE COUNTY JUVENILE OFFICE, Respondent

APPEAL FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF GREENE COUNTY. Honorable David C. Jones, Judge.

For Appellant: John H. Kelly.

For Respondent: Paul Shackelford.

Before Francis, C.J./P.J., Bates, J., and Scott, J.

OPINION

Page 617

PER CURIAM.

Appellant (Mother) appeals the termination of her parental rights (TPR) to three children. The trial court found, in part, a § 211.447.5(3) " failure to rectify" and that TPR was in each child's best interest.[1] Mother's challenges to these findings fail. We affirm.

Failure to Rectify

Three years before the TPR hearing, the children came into juvenile care under circumstances described in In re I.R.S., 361 S.W.3d 444, (Mo.App. 2012).[2] Thus, a termination for failure to rectify required clear and convincing proof that:

1. The conditions that brought each child into care still persisted, or that other potentially harmful conditions still existed;
and
2. Those conditions were unlikely to be remedied soon enough for the child to be returned to Mother in the near future, or that continuation of their parent-child relationship would greatly diminish the child's prospects for early integration into a stable and permanent home.

In re P.J., 403 S.W.3d 672, 675-76 (Mo.App. 2012); In re T.A.L., 328 S.W.3d 238, 247 (Mo.App. 2010); § 211.447.5(3).

The trial court found these elements and ruled unfavorably to Mother on each statutory factor that the court was required to consider. See § 211.447.5(3)(a)-(d). We view the evidence and reasonable inferences most favorably to the judgments, I.R.S., 361 S.W.3d at 445, and will summarize the facts accordingly.

Conditions That Led to Assumption of Juvenile Court Jurisdiction

Mother lost her parental rights to two other children (not the subject of these cases) in Ohio in 2005. I.R.S., who was born the following year, was under the jurisdiction of the Taney County juvenile division from August 2006 to May 2007 due to parental neglect. B.L.S., born in May 2007, and I.R.S. were under the jurisdiction of the juvenile division from June 2007 to November 2008 due to parental neglect. Mother's 18 referrals to the Missouri Children's Division (" CD" ) resulted in five investigations and eight informal services cases, the latest of which was closed at

Page 618

Mother's request in September 2010. Still, Mother's caseworker remained concerned about the children and Mother's parenting abilities. Services had not improved Mother's poor interaction with the children, nor remedied her belligerence or tendency to use services only as a means for transportation.

Mother's history of poor anger management and mental instability was ongoing. Such mental instability was, in part, why I.R.S. was placed in care in 2006. In 2007, shortly after taking the children into care in Taney County, the court appointed a guardian ad litem (GAL) for Mother. Later that year, a counselor noted Mother's unstable moods and symptoms of bipolar disorder. The family was offered informal services in 2010 due in part to concerns about Mother's mental instability. In November 2010, I.R.S.'s daycare reported difficulties working with Mother, who would get mad and hang up the telephone one day, then would call a few days later and act as if nothing had happened. Mother tried counseling, but did not follow through with the counselor's recommendations. She did not seek medication therapy despite strong professional advice in 2007 to do so.

Mother had limited prenatal care while pregnant with her youngest child, C.T.S.[3] She once called her doctor for pain medication, which was prescribed, but Mother would not take it because it was not the specific drug she wanted.

Mother and G.S. (" Father" ) [4] have a history of domestic strife. I.R.S. told her preschool teacher and a CD investigator that Mother called Father " evil." I.R.S. dreamt that Father would kill I.R.S., B.L.S., and Mother. In an April 2010 incident, Mother called Father at work and asked him to come home. When he arrived, Mother yelled at him, put the children outside, and locked the door. Father took the children to a ...


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