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Darcie J. v. Arizona Department of Economic Security

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department D

August 29, 2013

DARCIE J., Appellant,
v.
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC SECURITY, H.J., Appellees.

Not for Publication -Rule 28, Arizona Rules of Civil Appellate Procedure

Appeal from the Superior Court in Navajo County Cause No. S0900JD201100046 The Honorable Michala M. Ruechel, Judge

Riggs, Ellsworth & Porter, P.L.C. By David G. Moore Attorneys for Appellant

Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General By Amanda L. Holguin, Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for Appellees

MEMORANDUM DECISION

DONN KESSLER, Presiding Judge

¶1 Darcie J. ("Mother") appeals the juvenile court's order terminating her parental relationship with her daughter, H.J.[1] For the following reasons, we affirm.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 Mother is the biological parent of H.J., born in February 2011. Eleven months later, Mother was arrested on an outstanding warrant for failure to pay court fines. At the time she was arrested, Mother's blood alcohol content was .209, she was reportedly staggering around with H.J. in her arms, and officers found an open bottle of vodka in her purse. Mother voluntarily placed H.J. with her parents so she could enter substance abuse treatment.

¶3 Later that month the Arizona Department of Economic Security ("ADES") filed a dependency petition alleging that "[M]other's substance abuse places her nine-month-old at risk of neglect due to [Mother's] extreme intoxication and inability to care for [H.J.] during periods of intoxication." The juvenile court found H.J. to be dependent and set the case goal as family reunification.

¶4 Mother completed a substance abuse assessment with Reed Bradford from Arizona Families F.I.R.S.T. She admitted to using alcohol on the day of her arrest, but claimed this incident was an isolated occurrence. Ten days later, however, she showed up to a supervised visit with H.J. intoxicated and got into a physical altercation with her parents. The initial screening indicated that Mother "has a high probability of having a substance dependence, " "a high probability of being domestically violent, " and "[i]t would be in the family's best interest for [Mother] to continue random [drug tests] at the maximum rate." She was tested for three months and each test showed alcohol in her blood stream of varying amounts.[2]

¶5 Alice Alibrio, a substance abuse therapist, diagnosed Mother with an unspecified bipolar disorder and an unspecified polysubstance dependence disorder. She opined that Mother had little understanding of her relapse issues and needed a "24 hour structured supervised setting to build more effective recovery skills."

¶6 In January 2012, Mother was admitted to A Women's World, a substance abuse treatment center.[3] Throughout her stay at A Women's World, Mother remained sober and did not miss any visits with H.J. She also participated in group counseling, addiction education, a parenting course, anger management classes, living skills training, and a twelve step recovery program. Mother also received medication management.

¶7 Mother graduated from A Woman's World in April 2012. Child Protective Services temporarily suspended Mother's visits with H.J. to allow Mother to move, get settled, and apply for low income housing. The April Child Protective Services Report stated that once visitation reconvened, the visits would be geared toward slowly transitioning H.J. back into Mother's care. Following her release, Mother was offered random urinalysis to help with her sobriety but failed to participate.

¶8 In May 2012, the parent aid noticed that Mother had a black eye. Mother explained that "she and her boyfriend had gotten in a fight the other day and that he had beat her up." She also stated that she had broken ribs and a concussion, and she showed the parent aid the bruises on her shoulder, hips, back, arms, and neck. Although a breathalyzer was not taken, the police report indicates that Mother was slurring her speech, her eyes were bloodshot and watery, and she ...


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