Harmony F. v. Department of Child Safety, 052820 AZAPP1, 1 CA-JV 19-0283
|Docket Nº:||1 CA-JV 19-0283|
|Opinion Judge:||WINTHROP, Judge:|
|Party Name:||HARMONY F., Appellant, v. DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY, J.F., J.F., L.F., Appellees.|
|Attorney:||The Stavris Law Firm, PLLC, Scottsdale By Alison Stavris Counsel for Appellant Arizona Attorney General's Office, Mesa By Thomas Jose Counsel for Appellee Department of Child Safety|
|Judge Panel:||Presiding Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge Maria Elena Cruz and Judge David B. Gass joined.|
|Case Date:||May 28, 2020|
|Court:||Court of Appeals of Arizona|
Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court
Appeal from the Superior Court in Mohave County No. L8015JD201707038 The Honorable Steven C. Moss, Judge
The Stavris Law Firm, PLLC, Scottsdale By Alison Stavris Counsel for Appellant
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Mesa By Thomas Jose Counsel for Appellee Department of Child Safety
Presiding Judge Lawrence F. Winthrop delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge Maria Elena Cruz and Judge David B. Gass joined.
¶1 Harmony F. ("Mother") appeals the juvenile court order terminating her parental rights to her three minor children, J.F., J.V.F., and L.F. Mother argues she received ineffective assistance from her trial counsel. She also argues the Arizona Department of Child Safety (the "Department") failed to meet its burden of proof as to grounds for termination and the juvenile court erred in finding termination to be in the best interests of the children. For the following reasons, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
¶2 Mother is the biological mother of J.F., born in December 2006, J.V.F., born in January 2008, and L.F., born in September 2010. Each of the children have different biological fathers.1
¶3 In September 2017, J.F. and L.F. were playing outside unsupervised when they found gasoline and set a basketball on fire, causing serious burns to J.F.'s hand. Although Mother heard screams, she did not investigate, and the children called 9-1-1. That same month, the Department received a report about this injury and another report describing domestic violence between Mother and her boyfriend, drug use in the home, and the family's impending eviction.
¶4 After the family was evicted, the Department attempted to engage the family in services, including housing assistance and behavioral health services. In December, however, a school nurse informed the Department that L.F. came to school with a fever and the school was unable to contact Mother. L.F. said the children had slept in the family's truck's bed under a camper shell the previous night. J.F. and J.V.F. reported the same and explained the children slept in the bed of the truck, sharing a single blanket. J.V.F. said he used one of the family's dogs as a pillow. The children reported they had slept in the truck's bed for three nights while Mother and her boyfriend slept in the truck's cabin or in a nearby storage unit. All of the children were sick but had not seen a doctor or received medication. J.V.F. said he had been sick for nearly three weeks. The Department removed the children from Mother's care.2
¶5 The Department petitioned for dependency, alleging the children were dependent on the grounds of neglect and substance abuse. In May 2018, the juvenile court found the children dependent as to Mother on each ground.
¶6 As part of a family reunification plan, the Department offered Mother numerous services, including services for substance abuse, mental health, and parenting skills. Mother made little progress in services until late 2018 and then engaged inconsistently. She submitted to substance-abuse testing, and tested positive for amphetamines once in January 2019 and again the following month. Mother also submitted several diluted urine samples.
¶7 Meanwhile, the Department determined that the children needed to be in separate placements and required individual counseling to address their behavioral issues and developmental delays. The Department located J.F.'s biological father, who reported Mother had prevented him from being a part of J.F.'s life. J.F. and his father began developing a...
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