Searching over 5,500,000 cases.

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.

Sandra S. v. Arizona Department of Economic Security

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department D

August 29, 2013

SANDRA S., Appellant,

Not for Publication -Ariz.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

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County Cause No. JD12189 The Honorable A. Craig Blakey, II, Judge

John L. Popilek, P.C. By John L. Popilek Attorneys for Appellant, Sandra S.

Thomas C. Horne, Arizona Attorney General By Nicholas Chapman-Hushek, Assistant Attorney General Attorneys for Appellee, Arizona Department of Economic Security



¶1 Sandra S. ("Mother") appeals the juvenile court's order severing her parental rights to her children, T.S., C.S., D.S., M.S., and K.S. (collectively referred to as "Children").[1] Mother's rights were severed on two statutory grounds: drug abuse pursuant to Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 8-533(B)(3) (Supp. 2012), [2] and out-of-home placement pursuant to § 8-533(B)(8)(c). For the following reasons, we affirm.


¶2 Child Protective Services ("CPS") received a report in October 2010 alleging that Mother and Father ("Parents") were using methamphetamine, were engaged in domestic violence, and were neglecting their children (the home was dirty and Children did not have sufficient food) .[3] A CPS case manager met with Parents regarding the report's allegations and Parents stated that they each had a history of substance abuse but were presently sober. Both parents provided urinalysis ("UA") tests, and Mother provided a hair follicle test, which tested positive for methamphetamine. Mother denied use of any substances other than marijuana.

¶3 In November 2010, the Arizona Department of Economic Security ("ADES") filed a dependency petition alleging that Parents were neglecting Children by abusing drugs and failing to provide them the basic necessities of life. ADES removed the Children from Parents' care. After a hearing in January 2011, the juvenile court found Children dependent and approved ADES's proposed family-reunification plan and ordered services to attempt to effectuate the plan.

¶4 In August 2012, ADES moved to terminate Mother's parental rights to Children due to chronic substance-abuse history and fifteen months' out-of-home placement grounds under A.R.S. § 8-533(B)(3) and -533(B)(8)(c). As shown during a five-day termination hearing, between November 2010 and early January 2011, Mother tested positive for opiates seven times (without providing any documentation establishing a medical need for such narcotics), positive for marijuana four times, and positive for amphetamines once. Over the next four months, Mother missed every required UA despite knowing that a missed UA is marked as a positive test. Mother missed numerous UAs, tested positive for opiates twenty-five times, tested positive for alcohol once, and tested positive for "spice" several times. Mother did not provide any prescription for opiates during this time frame.

¶5 Mother completed her initial substance abuse treatment in August 2011, but would often miss her required UAs or test positive.

¶6 Psychologist Glenn Moe became involved in November 2010 when he provided a consultation, and recommended that Mother undergo a comprehensive psychological evaluation before further visits with Children be attempted. In March 2011, Dr. James Thal conducted an evaluation of Mother and concluded: "There are reasonable grounds to believe the conditions will continue for a prolonged, indeterminate period of time. It is imperative that [Mother] demonstrate a complete commitment to a drug free lifestyle." Dr. Thal stated that Mother should be required to have consistently clean, random UAs (without any misses), that she obtain regular employment, that reunification should take place slowly so Mother can demonstrate that she is not using drugs, and that she be required to provide a suitable residence for Children, among other things. The CPS case manager recommended and set up individual counseling for Mother multiple times, but Mother resisted and cancelled the appointments. When Dr. Thal met with Mother in May 2012, he again referred Mother for individual counseling, but she again refused such services.

¶7 Dr. Moe met with Parents and Children to perform a "bonding attachment assessment" in March 2012. Dr. Moe noted that Mother was able to interact with Children appropriately, and that Children were appropriately bonded to Mother. However, Dr. Moe testified that the critical issue was whether Mother would be able to meet Children's needs, and he concluded that she was "not in a position to safely and in a secure fashion raise these children due to concerns about how drug abuse and dependence would continue to negatively impact [her] ability to parent." Dr. Moe testified that Mother's ability to appropriately and independently raise Children needed to be addressed via individual therapy before moving onto family therapy with Children, which as noted by Dr. Thal, she refused. Dr. Moe testified that assuming Mother has continued to abuse substances, severance and adoption was the best option for Children, and continuing to have them in foster care would cause psychological harm.

¶8 Mother re-enrolled in a substance abuse treatment center in mid-July 2012, however, in August 2012, she did not provide any oral-swab drug tests. Mother's attendance in group sessions was minimal. The treatment center reported to CPS that Mother had not demonstrated a behavioral change and therefore it ...

Buy This Entire Record For $7.95

Download the entire decision to receive the complete text, official citation,
docket number, dissents and concurrences, and footnotes for this case.

Learn more about what you receive with purchase of this case.