In re Doe, 011421 IDCCA, 48369

Docket Nº48369
Opinion JudgeLORELLO, JUDGE
Party NameIn the Interest of: John Doe I and John Doe II, Children Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age. v. JANE DOE (2020-40), Respondent-Appellant. STATE OF IDAHO, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND WELFARE, Petitioner-Respondent,
AttorneyAnthony Geddes, Ada County Public Defender; Karen L. Jennings, Deputy Public Defender, Boise, for appellant. Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Peter A. Mommer, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.
Judge PanelChief Judge HUSKEY and Judge GRATTON, CONCUR.
Case DateJanuary 14, 2021
CourtCourt of Appeals of Idaho

In the Interest of: John Doe I and John Doe II, Children Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age.

STATE OF IDAHO, DEPARTMENT OF HEALTH AND WELFARE, Petitioner-Respondent,

v.

JANE DOE (2020-40), Respondent-Appellant.

No. 48369

Court of Appeals of Idaho

January 14, 2021

UNPUBLISHED OPINION

Appeal from the Magistrate Division of the District Court of the Fourth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Ada County. Hon. Andrew Ellis, Magistrate.

Anthony Geddes, Ada County Public Defender; Karen L. Jennings, Deputy Public Defender, Boise, for appellant.

Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Peter A. Mommer, Deputy Attorney General, Boise, for respondent.

LORELLO, JUDGE

Jane Doe (2020-40) appeals from the judgment terminating her parental rights. We affirm.

I.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

Doe is the mother of the two minor children in this action, born in 2018 and 2019. Doe is intellectually disabled and has substance abuse issues. Intelligence testing indicates that Doe's overall thinking and reasoning abilities are lower than 98 percent of others in her age group. Doe's low-cognitive function makes her susceptible to influence by others, which has contributed to her substance abuse issues. In combination, these factors led to the removal of the children from Doe's care and the eventual termination of her parental rights.

Doe's involvement with the Idaho Department of Health and Welfare arose from a police investigation. Officers investigating a hit-and-run accident in a hotel parking lot discovered Doe's older child at age nine weeks in one of the hotel rooms where Doe and four other adults were using drugs. There was a baggie of methamphetamine an inch from the child's hand and a tube for snorting drugs under his blanket. The child's diaper bag contained marijuana fragments and a baby spoon dusted with methamphetamine. When questioned, Doe told officers that the previous night she had used methamphetamine and that the child had suffered seizures, vomiting, stopped breathing, and became "wobbly like Jell-O." Despite believing that the child might die, Doe simply patted him on the back a few times to revive him. Doe indicated that she did not seek medical attention for the child out of fear that doing so would result in the discovery of her illegal activities. Based upon Doe's drug use in the child's presence and her failure to seek medical care for him, officers removed the child from Doe's care and arrested her for felony injury to a child and various drug offenses. Doe eventually pled guilty to felony injury to a child, resulting in her being placed on probation and the entry of a no-contact order between Doe and the child that allowed Doe only supervised contact with the child "as permitted" by the Department.

After a shelter care hearing, the magistrate court placed the child into the custody of the Department and later approved a case plan for Doe. While the child protection action involving the older child was pending, Doe gave birth to the younger child who is the second subject of this case. The Department filed an amended petition under the Child Protection Act to include the younger child. The magistrate court placed the younger child into the Department's custody and approved an updated case plan. Ultimately, the Department petitioned to terminate Doe's parental rights. After finding clear and convincing evidence that Doe neglected the children and that termination is in the children's best interests, the magistrate court terminated Doe's parental rights.1 Doe appeals.

II.

ANALYSIS

Doe argues that the magistrate court erred in terminating her parental rights because the Department's reunification efforts were inadequate in light of her intellectual disability. The Department responds that Doe waived this argument by failing to identify a specific error by the magistrate court, cite pertinent portions of the record, or support her position with...

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