Order returning temporary custody of children to DFACS for additional 12 months and authorizing DFACS to discontinue providing reunification services, vacated, and case remanded; evidence that child was abused was based on child’s out-of-court statements, which were inadmissible hearsay because government did not show that child available to testify as required by child-hearsay statute; although trial courts presumably do not consider inadmissible evidence, order extensively discussed and relied upon hearsay, and no admissible evidence supported trial court’s findings; any error in trial court’s dismissal of new deprivation charges not addressed because mother could not show any harm from dismissal.
Order placing 4-year-old boy in DFACS’s custody, rather than with his paternal uncle and aunt, AFFIRMED; OCGA 19-8-7(a) did not require juvenile court to place child with his relatives, regardless of whether child’s father validly surrendered his parental right to them; OCGA 15-11-103 does not require courts to give preference to family members in placing child following termination of parental rights and, in this case, juvenile court did not abuse its discretion in finding that immediate placement with uncle and aunt was not in child’s best interest, due to emotion impact of abrupt transition away from his foster family; uncle and aunt had right to directly appeal dispositional order placing boy in DFACS’s custody.
From: Fulton County Daily Report (10/16/2009)
In the Interest of C.B., A09A1099 (10/01/09), 09 FCDR 3202
Attorneys: Larry A. Ballew, Randall A. Meincke, thurbert E. Baker, Shalen S. Nelson, Kathryn A. Fox, Rochelle A. Doyle, Jennifer L. Pirrung
Judges: J. Russell Jackson, Forsyth Juvenile Court; Phipps, Smith, Bernes, Georgia Court of Appeals.
Denial of petition to terminate mother’s parental rights to three children, AFFIRMED, as DFACS failed to present clear and convincing evidence that deprivation was likely to continue; evidence showed that mother had made progress on her case plan, including maintaining housing and employment, undergoing mental health evaluations, completing parenting classes and visiting children; limitation forbidding judge from expressing or intimating his opinion did not apply to termination hearing, since it was not conducted in front of jury.
From: Fulton County Daily Report (10/9/2009)
In the Interest of D.W., A09A0900 (09/23/09)
Attorneys: Anissa R. Patton, Waymon Sims, Thurbert E. Baker, Shalen S. Nelson, Robert E. Hall, Victoria Warren
Judges: George Blau, Fulton Juvenile Court; Georgia Court of Appeals, Smith, Bernes, Phipps
A GA mother who suffers from a mood and personality disorders but is adverse to medication, does not comply with the goals of a reunification plan, fails to stabilize her volatility, and fails to maintain steady employment and stable housing, is evidence of a lack of parental care or control causing a child’s deprivation, the deprivation is likely to continue, and the deprivation is likely to cause the child serious harm.
Termination of parental rights is in the best interest of the child when she has been in DFACS custody for all but eight of her 27 months.
Judicial notice of evidence, exhibits, testimony and unappealed court orders in an underlying deprivation proceedings in the same court is not an abuse of discretion when the parent was allowed to confront the witnesses.
Trail counsel is not deficient for stipulating to evidence admitted in prior deprivation proceedings.