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In re Doe I

Supreme Court of Idaho

March 5, 2019

In the Matter of: Jane Doe I, A Child Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age.
v.
JANE DOE, Respondent-Appellant. IDAHO DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND WELFARE, Petitioner-Respondent,

          Appeal from the Magistrate Court of the Third Judicial District of the State of Idaho, Washington County. Hon. David Eames, Magistrate Judge.

         The judgment of the magistrate court is affirmed.

          Specht Law, PLLC, Weiser, for appellant. Cody H. Specht argued.

          Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Idaho Attorney General, Boise, for respondent. Matthew R. Thompson argued.

          BRODY, JUSTICE.

         Jane Doe (Mother) appeals from a judgment of the Washington County Magistrate Court terminating her parental rights to her child. Child was born with methamphetamine in her system and was declared in imminent danger, with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare assuming temporary custody. The case plan entered into for parental reunification focused primarily on abstinence from controlled substances and drug treatment. Thereafter, Mother struggled with beginning drug treatment and repeatedly relapsed into using methamphetamine. The Department petitioned that Mother's parental rights be terminated. A three-day termination hearing was held and the magistrate court terminated Mother's parental rights to Child after finding that she neglected the child and that termination was in the child's best interest. Mother appealed, arguing that the magistrate court's finding of neglect was not supported by substantial and competent evidence, and that the court erred in determining termination was in the child's best interest. We affirm.

         I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

         Child was born on April, 23, 2017. Sadly, she was premature, had received no neo-natal care, and both she and her Mother tested positive for methamphetamines. A paternity test was not yet conducted, but Mother claimed to know who the father was. A sheriff's deputy declared Child in imminent danger and she was placed in the temporary custody of the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare (Department). At the Adjudicatory Hearing that followed, Mother and Father stipulated to the Department retaining temporary custody of Child. Child was then placed in a foster home with Father's extended family and a guardian ad litem was appointed.

         A case plan was ordered on July 11, 2017. Mother and Father signed it on August 29, 2017. The case plan was amended and signed again on September 11, 2017. The Amended Case Plan required Mother to:

1. Complete a mental health evaluation and complete any recommendations of the provider before Child was 15 months in care of the Department;
2. Maintain stable, safe housing for a minimum of 120 consecutive days;
3. Secure and maintain legitimate and sufficient resources to meet the financial needs of Child for 120 consecutive days;
4. Successfully complete a parenting class;
5. Complete a substance abuse evaluation, demonstrate abstinence from illegal substances for 90 days, and comply with all treatment recommendations prior to or by the child's 15 month in care;
6. Attend scheduled visits with Child; and,
7. Actively participate in medical, dental, and developmental ...

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