Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department D
Not for Publication – Ariz. R.P. Juv. Ct. 103(G); ARCAP 28)
Appeal from the Superior Court in Yavapai County Cause No. P1300JD201100071 The Honorable David L. Mackey, Judge
Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General, Laura J. Huff, Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for Appellees
Law Office of Florence M. Bruemmer, P.C., Florence M. Bruemmer Attorney for Appellant
LAWRENCE F. WINTHROP, Judge
¶1 Melissa R. ("Mother") appeals the termination of her parental rights to M.R. ("Child"). Mother argues that the Arizona Department of Economic Security ("ADES") failed to make reasonable efforts to provide her with reunification services, the juvenile court erred in terminating her parental rights on neglect and time-in-care grounds, and the court erred in determining that severance was in Child's best interest. For the following reasons, we affirm.
¶2 Mother and William R. ("Father") are the biological parents of Child, who was born in 1999. On August 30, 2011, Child Protective Services ("CPS") temporarily removed Child from the parents' home after CPS received a report that Father had sexually abused his thirteen-year-old daughter, Child's half-sister ("Sister"), in December 2010 and August 2011. The report further alleged that, during the August 2011 incident, Father gave Sister the narcotic painkiller Vicodin.
¶3 During the December 2010 incident, Father entered Sister's room and lay beside her on the bed with his arm around her waist. Father then rolled on top of her, put his hands on her face, and kissed her, inserting his tongue in her mouth. Sister pushed Father off and ran away, reporting the incident to her step-brother ("Brother") and Child.
¶4 On August 27, 2011, while Mother was at work, Father gave Sister two prescription Vicodin pills. Several hours later, while Sister was sitting at the computer, Father began rubbing Sister's shoulders and touching her stomach and breasts. Sister moved his hand away and retreated to her room to escape the situation and to lie down because she felt tired and nauseated from the pills Father had given her. Shortly thereafter, Father entered Sister's room and insisted on lying next to her. Father spread Sister's legs apart and began moving his hand up her shorts and inside her panties. Father then touched her perineum on the outside of her panties. Sister yelled at Father and ran out of the house, screaming. Father chased Sister outside, stopped her in the driveway, picked her up, and dragged her back inside. Sister again left the house and contacted three of her friends to report the incident. Father eventually found Sister and took her home. Sister refused to personally speak with Father, but they exchanged several text messages regarding the incident. Sister later went to a friend's house, and a few days later the Yavapai County Sheriff's Office and CPS were contacted.
¶5 During the ensuing investigation, two of the friends Sister had called the day of the incident corroborated Sister's account. Additionally, Brother confirmed that Father and Sister often were in Sister's room with the door closed, Father had given Sister two unknown pills on the day of the incident, Sister had previously reported that Father had touched her breasts, and Sister told him that she had run away because Father attempted to "finger her." Child also reported that Sister told her about Father's touching and kissing. Child became emotional and unwilling to talk, however, when asked if anything had ever happened to her. Child stated that Father would lie in bed next to her when she was sick, but according to the interviewing detective, she seemed "very uncomfortable" talking about it. During a police interview, Father admitted kissing Sister on the mouth in December 2010, giving Sister two pain pills that may have been his prescribed Vicodin pills, accidentally touching Sister's breasts, and possibly touching Sister's "ass" in her sleep.
¶6 Mother, who works out of town, had been at work during both incidents. When she learned the children were to be interviewed by the police, Mother texted the children and told them to "delete all text messages, including this one." When asked about her reason for sending the texts, Mother could not provide a logical explanation. Instead, Mother contended that Sister was lying, and she attacked Sister's character. Mother also acknowledged, however, that she had seen Father lie in bed with Sister and Child "when they were sick." Despite the statements of Sister's friends and siblings, as well as Father's admissions, Mother and Father continued to deny all allegations of sexual abuse.
¶7 On September 2, 2011, ADES filed a dependency petition, alleging Child dependent as to both parents. With regard to Mother, ADES alleged she had neglected Child by failing to protect her from sexual abuse by Father because Mother knew or should have known that Father had been sexually inappropriate with Sister, and yet Mother continued to leave Child with Father despite Father's inappropriate sexual behavior. The court found Child dependent as to her parents and placed Child in the custody and control of CPS. To effectuate a case plan of reunification, ADES offered Mother a substance abuse assessment and education, random urinalysis and hair follicle testing, a psychological evaluation, family and individual counseling, a clinical family assessment, a parent aide for supervised visitation, parenting classes, chaperone classes, team decision meetings, and child and family team ("CFT") meetings.
¶8 In December 2011, the case manager reported that Mother had completed a substance abuse assessment, participated in supervised visitations with Child, and participated in CFT meetings. However, a parent home study had not been completed because of Mother's failure to meet with the evaluator. Additionally, Mother had declined to participate in a psychological evaluation, refused to submit to random urinalysis and hair follicle testing, and had not completed chaperone or parenting classes. The juvenile court granted CPS discretion to allow Mother unsupervised and ...