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Bianca B. v. Arizona Department of Economic Security

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

December 10, 2013

BIANCA B., Appellant,
v.
ARIZONA DEPARTMENT OF ECONOMIC SECURITY, K.M., Appellees.

Not for Publication – Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. JD11816 The Honorable Connie Contes, Judge

David W. Bell, Attorney at Law, Mesa By David W. Bell Counsel for Appellant

Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix By Nicholas Chapman-Hushek Counsel for Appellee, ADES

Judge Donn Kessler delivered the decision of the Court, in which Presiding Judge Andrew W. Gould and Judge Michael J. Brown joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

KESSLER, Judge

¶1 Mother appeals from the juvenile court's order terminating her parental rights to her minor child, K.M. For the following reasons, we affirm.

BACKGROUND

¶2 Mother gave birth to K.M on September 30, 2010 while incarcerated. Mother admittedly used phencyclidine ("PCP") during pregnancy. K.M. has cerebral palsy, which his physician opined was the result of intrauterine drug exposure. Consequently, K.M. needs special occupational, feeding, and speech therapies.

¶3 In February 2011, the juvenile court adjudicated K.M. dependent as to Mother based on Mother's substance abuse, and ordered K.M. into the care of an out-of-home placement. During this dependency, Mother participated in reunification services offered by the Arizona Department of Economic Security ("ADES"), including TERROS Families F.I.R.S.T. substance abuse treatment, parental aid through Family House, and substance abuse treatment through Native American Connections. Additionally, Mother attended K.M.'s therapies and learned about his special needs.

¶4 Mother felt that she received all the services she needed for successful reunification during the first dependency. The juvenile court returned K.M. to Mother's physical custody in January 2012 and in February dismissed the dependency, thereby restoring legal custody of K.M. to Mother.

¶5 In May 2012, ADES received reports alleging that Mother was neglecting K.M. Specifically, the report indicated that K.M. lost weight, appeared weak, and was not progressing with his balance. Additionally, Mother reportedly was no longer living with K.M.'s maternal grandmother ("Grandmother"), currently was living in a shelter, and concerns arose that Mother again was abusing drugs.

¶6 In June 2012, K.M. was admitted to Phoenix Children's Hospital because of his weight loss. K.M. quickly regained weight after physicians placed him on what was supposed to be his normal home feeding regimen. Thus, K.M.'s physician diagnosed him with "failure to thrive, " and noted "significant concerns of this being social failure to thrive with improper nutrition being provided by [Mother]." It also was reported that Mother appeared to be under the influence during K.M.'s hospitalization. Specifically, Mother was observed grinding her teeth and rubbing her nose, and was unable to maintain a conversation about K.M.'s treatment.

¶7 Consequently, ADES filed a second dependency petition in June 2012. The juvenile court placed K.M. in the physical and legal custody of ADES, and again adjudicated K.M. dependent as to Mother. The case plan at that time was "Family ...


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