Appeal from the Superior Court in Maricopa County. No. JD29771. The Honorable Connie Contes, Judge.
Maricopa County Public Advocate, Mesa, By David C. Lieb, Counsel for Appellant.
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix, By JoAnn Falgout, Counsel for Appellees.
Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Judge Samuel A. Thumma and Judge Peter B. Swann joined.
Kenton D. Jones, Judge:
[¶1] Shella H. (Mother) appeals the juvenile court's order adjudicating J.R.H., G.R.H., A.D.H.H., A.H., and I.H. (the Children) dependent. We hold the juvenile court must consider the circumstances as they exist at the time of the dependency adjudication hearing in determining whether a child is a dependent child. Because the record contains reasonable evidence to support the court's order finding the Children were dependent as to Mother on the ground of domestic violence at the time of the dependency adjudication hearing, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
[¶2] In January 2015, Mother left the Children, ages eleven, ten, seven, two, and six months, unsupervised in a hotel room where they were living, while she was passed out in the bathroom after vomiting blood on the floor and sink. When the Children found Mother unresponsive, they contacted a maternal aunt who called emergency services. Mother was admitted to the hospital; subsequent testing revealed her blood alcohol concentration was 0.24. Because the Children were unattended and their father (Father) was incarcerated in California at the time, the Department of Child Safety (DCS) assumed temporary custody of the Children and placed them in licensed foster homes.
[¶3] Subsequent investigation revealed a significant history of domestic violence between Mother and Father. In fact, Father's recent incarceration resulted from an arrest in December 2014 after he choked Mother, punched her in the face four times, and " held her hostage" in the presence of the Children. When admitted at the hospital in January 2015, Mother reported she suffered several broken ribs from the altercation and moved to Arizona to " escape" the abusive relationship. On the same day the Children discovered their Mother unconscious in a pool of blood and vomit, Father pled guilty to five counts of child endangerment and was sentenced to probation for two years plus time served. Upon his release, Father immediately attempted to reestablish contact with Mother and the Children.
[¶4] Mother told a DCS caseworker that the " domestic violence relationship" with Father had lasted for fifteen years. As a result, both parents had been arrested and both had obtained orders of protection against the other. The three oldest children confirmed regular physical arguments between their parents which had sometimes resulted in physical injury to the Children as well. They also reported Father hit them with belts and other objects and slapped them across the face.
[¶5] DCS was further concerned about the effect of the family's transient lifestyle on the Children. The parents reported moving every few days from hotels, the family vehicle, and " the woods." At the adjudication hearing, Mother was unable to provide a physical address for any prior residence. Aside from
J.R.H. attending kindergarten for a short time, the Children had never attended school; neither had they received any regular medical care for at least the past six years. The two youngest children, along with a deceased son, were born in hotels. Additionally, Mother had a long history ...