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Lakesha S. v. Arizona Department of Economic Security

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

December 10, 2013

LAKESHA S., Appellant,

Not for Publication – Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County No. JD509243 The Honorable Kirby D. Kongable, Judge Pro Tempore

Arizona Attorney General's Office, Tucson By Laura J. Huff Counsel for Appellee, ADES.

Robert D. Rosanelli Attorney at Law, Phoenix By Robert D. Rosanelli Counsel for Appellant.

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



¶1 Lakesha S. ("Mother") appeals the juvenile court's order terminating her relationship with her two children. We affirm.


¶2 Mother is the biological parent of both children, one born in January 2002 and the other born in November 2010. In November 2010, Child Protective Services ("CPS") received a report that Mother had tested positive for phencyclidine ("PCP") during a prenatal visit. Although Mother denied using PCP, she admitted to using marijuana at the beginning of the pregnancy and alcohol on weekends. As a result of the report and these concessions, CPS instituted a safety plan that allowed the children to remain in Mother's care, but required Mother to have a safety monitor and participate in various services, including drug testing through TASC. Over the next three and a half months, Mother tested positive for alcohol three times, for cocaine once, and failed to report for testing on ten occasions.

¶3 In April 2011, Mother brought her younger child to his doctor for the first time since being born. No safety monitor was present at the appointment and Mother appeared under the influence. The doctor recommended she submit to a urinalysis, which indicated Mother had alcohol in her system. At this point, the Arizona Department of Economic Security ("ADES") filed a dependency petition in juvenile court. The juvenile court found the children to be dependent and set the case goal as family reunification. Both children were removed from Mother's care and placed in a foster home. Shortly thereafter, CPS placed the children with their maternal grandmother ("Grandmother").

¶4 CPS offered Mother several services, including Parent Aide and a psychological consultation. The Parent Aide services included both supervised visitation and parenting skills sessions. Mother, however, missed sixteen of twenty scheduled visits and fifteen of eighteen scheduled parenting skills sessions. Due to Mother's lack of participation, CPS closed Parent Aide services. Further, Mother failed to appear at her scheduled full psychological evaluation, her participation in which was recommended by the psychological consultation.

¶5 CPS also referred Mother to TASC and TERROS Families First ("TERROS"). TERROS provided Mother with an initial assessment, case management, group counseling, outreach services, bus passes, drug screens, and placement in residential treatment. The levels of treatment included standard outpatient, intensive outpatient, and inpatient. Mother consistently refused to enter inpatient treatment. Instead, she attended outpatient treatment sporadically and often times while intoxicated. Further, between the beginning of April 2011 and the end of April 2012 Mother tested positive for alcohol on at least fifteen occasions. On May 23, 2012, Mother tested positive for PCP.[1] At this point, Mother's case manager at TERROS told Mother she must either attend inpatient treatment or be removed from the program. Mother agreed to undergo inpatient treatment and was admitted to Life Well in June 2012.[2]

¶6 At the commencement of her stay, Mother participated in the previously recommended psychological assessment with Dr. Ann Schroeckenstein. She spent three and a half months at Life Well, being admitted in mid-June 2012 and graduating in the beginning of October 2012.

¶7 After Mother's discharge from inpatient treatment, TERROS once again engaged Mother in treatment. ADES requested postponement of the parental severance trial to allow Mother an opportunity to demonstrate her ability to remain sober. However, within two months ADES requested that trial be reset, as there were concerns Mother was not "continuing on [a] positive track with her recovery." Specifically, after being ...

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