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April M. v. Arizona Department of Economic Security

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division, Department A

October 15, 2013

APRIL M., Appellant,
v.
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC SECURITY, A.M., D.M., Appellees.

Not for Publication – 103(G) Ariz.R.P. Juv.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

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County Cause No. JD15699 The Honorable William R. Wingard, Judge Pro Tempore

Robert D. Rosanelli Phoenix Attorney for Apellant

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

MEMORANDUM DECISION

JOHN C. GEMMILL, Judge

¶1 April M. ("Mother") appeals the juvenile court's order terminating her parental relationship with her two minor children, A.M. and D.M. For the following reasons, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

¶2 A.M. was born in March 2007, exposed to methamphetamine. The Arizona Department of Economic Security ("ADES"), through Child Protective Services ("CPS"), intervened and the juvenile court found A.M. dependent; but the dependency matter was dismissed in November 2007 after the court found Mother compliant with CPS. Mother, who has a history of drug abuse, pleaded guilty to possession or use of marijuana in 2009 and was put on probation from August 2010 to August 2011.

¶3 D.M. was born in June 2011, while Mother was still on probation. D.M. was born exposed to methamphetamine and marijuana. ADES offered Mother voluntary services, which she temporarily engaged in; however, she left the state and traveled to Kentucky three months later, taking D.M. and possibly A.M. with her and cutting off contact with ADES. ADES later learned that A.M. was living in Arizona with a non-family member and investigated allegations that the non-family member had had inappropriate sexual contact with her. ADES removed A.M. from that home in March 2012 based on those allegations. Also in March, after locating Mother and D.M. in Arizona, ADES removed D.M. and initiated a dependency proceeding for both children.

¶4 ADES expressed concerns that Mother had unstable housing and employment and was unable to care for the children due to a long history of substance abuse. In September 2012, A.M. and D.M. were adjudicated dependent as to Mother.[1]

¶5 ADES instituted a reunification plan that called for Mother to maintain stable housing and employment, sobriety, and control over her emotions, as well as to demonstrate she had "age-appropriate expectations" for the children. Although Mother participated in many supervised visits with A.M. and D.M., she also frequently missed visits or was late. The supervising parent aide reported multiple instances when Mother behaved erratically — including rocking back and forth, slowly opening and closing her eyes, speaking loudly, and overfeeding D.M. — and appeared to be under the influence of mind-altering substances. The aide also reported having to remind Mother to refrain from engaging in inappropriate conversations with A.M., such as asking her about the foster family and instructing her to tell the court she wanted to return to Mother. Mother responded aggressively to the aide's reminders. On multiple occasions, Mother refused to hand D.M. over when visits concluded or were canceled, and police had to intervene.

¶6In October 2012, the juvenile court granted an ADES motion to suspend Mother's visitation rights with both children.

¶7 Although Mother submitted to scheduled urinalysis testing once in June 2012 and twice in December 2012, and returned negative results for all tested substances on those dates, she missed all of her random urinalysis tests, despite reminders from ADES that it considered missed tests as positive for banned substances. Additionally, she refused a hair follicle test, did not submit to a substance abuse assessment, did not attend parenting classes, and missed all scheduled psychological evaluations.

¶8 In February 2013, ADES moved to terminate Mother's parental rights on grounds of substance abuse, under Arizona Revised Statutes ("A.R.S.") section 8-533(B)(3), and nine months' out-of-home placement, under A.R.S. § 8-533(B)(8)(a). As of that month, ADES reported that Mother had not demonstrated that she had achieved financial or housing stability — she indicated that she had moved to a new home ...


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