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In re L.C.

Court of Appeals of Missouri, Eastern District, First Division

November 24, 2015

IN THE INTEREST OF: L.C., a minor child. JUVENILE OFFICER, TWENTY-SECOND JUDICIAL CIRCUIT, Respondent,
v.
MISSOURI DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, CHILDREN'S DIVISION, Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the City of St. Louis. Hon. David C. Mason.

FOR APPELLANT: Matthew J. Laudano, Jefferson City, MO.

FOR RESPONDENT: Christopher R. Brown, St. Louis, MO.

ROBERT G. DOWD, Presiding Judge. Mary K. Hoff, J. and Roy L. Richter, J., concur.

OPINION

Page 172

ROBERT G. DOWD, Presiding Judge

The Children's Division of the Department of Social Services (" the Division" ) appeals from the trial court's judgment mandating that the Division provide all benefits and services to Cassandra Owens as would normally be given to a licensed foster care provider. We reverse and remand.

The juvenile court entered an order of temporary protective custody with respect to LC. Shortly thereafter, the juvenile court held a protective custody hearing, at which it determined L.C. was to remain within the court's jurisdiction and in the legal custody of the Division.

Subsequently, the juvenile officer filed a first amended petition regarding L.C., which sought to have the court enter any orders, judgments, or decrees as may be found necessary in the best interest of L.C. The first amended petition alleged that " said juvenile comes within the provisions of Section 211.031.1(1)" because she was residing with her paternal grandmother, Owens, when the case began. In addition, the petition stated L.C. would be at risk of neglect if she were returned to the custody of her mother at that time. L.C.'s father was incarcerated and was, as a result, unable to care for L.C.

The court held a hearing on the juvenile officer's first amended petition and determined L.C. was " without proper care, custody or support and, therefore, is a Juvenile[] within the provisions of Section 211.031.1." Thus, the court found it was in L.C.'s best interests to remain in protective custody and be in the legal custody of the Division. The court also noted Mother was not an appropriate custodian for L.C. and that Father also was not an appropriate custodian.

The court then entered an order and judgment of disposition in which it ordered that legal custody of the L.C. shall be granted to the Division for appropriate placement and that placement with Owens is an appropriate physical placement. In this ruling, the court also ordered the Division

Page 173

to comply with the specific orders on Exhibit C. In Exhibit C, the court ordered the Division to, among other things, " license Owens once traffic matters are cleared up."

The Division filed a motion to modify the court's order and judgment of disposition. In particular, the Division requested that the court rescind the provision of its judgment ordering the Division to license Owens. The Division ...


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