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Bethany Y. v. Arizona Department of Economic Security

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department E

August 13, 2013

BETHANY Y., Appellant,

Not for Publication -103(G) Ariz.R.P. Juv.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

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County Cause No. JD20610 The Honorable Joan M. Sinclair, Commissioner

Thomas C. Horne, Attorney General Tucson By Cathleen E. Fuller, Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for Appellees.

Christina Phillis, Maricopa County Public Advocate Mesa By Suzanne W. Sanchez, Deputy Public Advocate Attorneys for Appellant


ANDREW W. GOULD, Presiding Judge.

¶1 Bethany Y. ("Mother") appeals the superior court's order terminating her parental rights to A.M. ("Child") due to substance abuse under Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 8-533(B)(3), arguing that Arizona Department of Economic Security ("ADES") failed to prove that her condition would continue for a prolonged and indeterminate period. For the following reasons, we affirm.

Facts and Procedural Background[1]

¶2 In January 2011, Child was born exposed to alcohol, cocaine, and methamphetamine due to Mother's drug use during pregnancy. Mother used drugs throughout the pregnancy; her drug use included using crack cocaine the night before she went into labor. Child was born with special needs. Due to Child's prenatal drug exposure, Child Protective Services ("CPS") has been involved with Child since birth. During the first few months of Child's life, CPS offered services to address Mother's substance abuse issues.

¶3 Mother was responsible for Child's care until August 2011, when CPS removed Child due to domestic violence between Mother and Robert M. ("Father") and further drug use by Mother. Following that incident, ADES filed a petition for dependency, and the court found Child dependent as to Mother in August 2011.

¶4 Mother began an inpatient substance abuse treatment program, and then progressed to an outpatient stage at a halfway house. After leaving the halfway house, Mother obtained housing and was working to support herself while continuing her treatment. In February 2012, the case manager recommended that Child be returned to Mother because she had stopped using drugs. On March 5, 2012, Child was returned to Mother's care.

¶5 However, Mother later admitted that she had consumed alcohol and obtained and used methamphetamine the night before the child was to be returned to her care, and that when she appeared in court on March 5, she was still under the influence of methamphetamine. Mother's case worker testified that Mother had told her that she had been back in contact and involved with Father during the two months prior to March 4, and that Mother said he was a "trigger" for Mother's behavior. He was not participating in treatment. Mother's urinalysis testing results were positive for methamphetamine on both March 6 and 14, 2012. At about this time, Mother also quit going to work. Child was in Mother's care until April 1, 2012, when a CPS "after hours" team was able to locate them and remove Child once again. While Child was in Mother's care, Mother was using methamphetamine, and was in only very sporadic contact with CPS. Mother also failed to take Child to daycare (other than one day), or to Child's necessary therapy appointments consistently.

¶6 After Child was removed, Mother continued to use methamphetamine; she tested positive for methamphetamine again on April 17, 2012. Mother was arrested for driving under the influence ("DUI") on April 29, 2012. She then subsequently failed to appear and was picked up and spent the night in jail on June 9, 2012 before ultimately pleading guilty to the DUI on July 2, 2012.

¶7 Mother testified that she had last consumed alcohol in July 2012. Her urinalysis results were negative for alcohol and methamphetamine from July 2012 until the time of trial in December of that year. She reentered substance abuse treatment in July 2012 following her earlier period of substance abuse. Mother was not employed at the time of trial.

¶8 Dr. G. Joseph Bluth completed a psychological evaluation on Mother on August 27, 2012. Dr. Bluth found both amphetamine and alcohol dependence. Additionally, he found both depressive and personality disorders. Dr. Bluth also testified that he believed that Mother's struggle with substance abuse was likely to continue into the ...

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