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Sabrina G. v. Arizona Department of Economic Security, K.G.

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department A

July 11, 2013

SABRINA G., Appellant,
v.
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC SECURITY, K.G., L.B., A.G., J.G., [1] Appellees.

Not for Publication -103(G) Ariz. R.P. Juv. Ct.; Rule 28 ARCAP

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County Cause No. JD509003 The Honorable David King Udall, Judge

Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General Mesa By Amanda Holguin, Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for Appellee.

ADES Robert D. Rosanelli Phoenix Attorney for Appellant.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

MARGARET H. DOWNIE, Judge.

¶1 Sabrina G. ("Mother") appeals the termination of her parental rights to her four children (referred to collectively as the "Children"). For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 In March 2010, police officers responded to a domestic violence call. Mother reported that her boyfriend, D.B., had placed her in a chokehold and threatened her.[2] The Children were present, and officers noticed several contusions on A.G., who said that D.B. had hit her on an earlier date.

¶3 In April 2010, the Arizona Department of Economic Security ("ADES") filed a dependency petition, alleging the Children were dependent due to: (1) Mother exposing them to domestic violence and allowing D.B. to be in the home despite Child Protective Services ("CPS") and police intervention; (2) Mother's failure to protect the Children from abuse by D.B.; (3) abuse by Mother; and (4) mental illness that placed the Children at risk for abuse and neglect. Mother contested the dependency petition.

¶4 The initial case plan was for family reunification. A.G. advised officers that her home was "not a safe place." She described Mother putting a bag in her mouth and trying to choke her and an incident where Mother "almost" stabbed L.B. with a knife. A.G. also stated that D.B. hit her and threatened to kill L.B. L.B. made similar reports.

¶5 The court initially granted Mother one visit per week and twice weekly telephonic contact, but it asked Dr. Moe to evaluate Mother's contact with the Children. L.B. told Dr. Moe that Mother had "whispered to her in the restroom" during a visit that D.B. would come to the foster home to kill the Children and related that she and A.G. had nightmares about D.B. doing so. Dr. Moe recommended that phone calls and visits with Mother stop.

¶6 Mother opposed ADES's subsequent motion to terminate her visits and calls, citing a CPS report claiming the Children were "compulsive liars." The court, however, granted ADES's motion.

¶7 In ruling on the dependency petition, the juvenile court concluded ADES had not proven Mother had a mental illness that placed the Children at risk. It found, however, "substantial and compelling" evidence that she had exposed them to domestic violence. The court expressed concern that Mother permitted D.B. back into the home, continuing to place the Children at risk. It stated:

THE COURT FINDS startling that Mother voluntarily chose to lift the order of protection ("OOP") that she had obtained against [D.B.] in order to enable [D.B.] to be at [K.G.'s] birth. Rather than maintain the security of the Children provided by the OOP, Mother elected to disregard the protection it offered and instead invited [D.B.] back into their lives. . . . Mother . . recognized the danger [D.B.] presents to the Children and herself, describing him pointing a gun at her and threatening her life ...

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