In re Interest of CS, CAAP-21-0000482

CourtCourt of Appeals of Hawai'i
Citation151 Hawai‘i 131,508 P.3d 1217 (Table)
Docket NumberCAAP-21-0000482
Parties In the INTEREST OF CS, WS, KS1, KS2
Decision Date06 May 2022

151 Hawai‘i 131
508 P.3d 1217 (Table)

In the INTEREST OF CS, WS, KS1, KS2

NO. CAAP-21-0000482

Intermediate Court of Appeals of Hawai‘i.

May 6, 2022


On the briefs:

Crystal M. Asano, for Mother-Appellant.

Simeona A. Mariano Julio Cesar Herrera, Deputy Attorneys General, for Department of Human Services-Appellee.

(By: Leonard, Presiding Judge, Hiraoka and McCullen, JJ.)

SUMMARY DISPOSITION ORDER

Mother-Appellant (Mother ) appeals from the Family Court of the First Circuit's (Family Court )1 August 13, 2021 Order Terminating Parental Rights, August 13, 2021 Letters of Permanent Custody, and September 23, 2021 Findings of Fact and Conclusions of Law, terminating her and Father-Appellee's (Father ) parental rights to CS, WS, KS1, and KS2 [collectively Children ].

Upon careful review of the record and the briefs submitted by the parties, and having given due consideration to the arguments advanced and the issues raised by the parties, we resolve Mother's arguments below and affirm.2

(1) Mother contends the Family Court prevented her from fully cross-examining one of the resource caregivers regarding the safety of their home.

The "[d]iscretion resides within a trial court to determine the scope and extent of cross examination." In re Doe, 100 Hawai‘i 335, 346 n.23, 60 P.3d 285, 296 n.23 (2002) (citing HRE Rule 1101 (1993)); Doe v. Doe, 98 Hawai‘i 144, 154–55, 44 P.3d 1085, 1095–96 (2002). Here, the Family Court appears to have limited Mother's cross-examination because Mother's questions of whether two adults were in the home at all times or whether the resource caregivers were open to voluntary continued contact with Mother post-termination were irrelevant to whether the permanent plan is in Children's best interests.

Notably, the Family Court permitted Mother to cross-examine one of the resource caregivers on issues related to the safety and appropriateness of the resource caregivers' home, including whether they allowed Father to come to the house, had to undergo a criminal background check, and had to ask other people to watch Children for them. The Family Court did not abuse its discretion in limiting the cross-examination.

(2) Mother contends the record lacks clear and convincing evidence supporting findings of fact (FOF ) 95 and 96, which found:

95. [Mother] and [Father] are not presently willing and able to provide the Children with a safe family home, even with the assistance of a service plan.

96. It is not reasonably foreseeable that [Mother] and [Father] will become willing and able to provide the Children with a safe family home, even with the assistance of a service plan.

Mother contends she completed her services and made substantial progress in demonstrating her ability to provide a safe family home.

However, the Family Court did not clearly err as many unchallenged findings constitute substantial evidence supporting FOF 95 and 96. In re Doe, 95 Hawai‘i 183, 190, 20 P.3d 616, 623 (2001). Specifically, for over three years, DHS offered Mother services to help resolve her safety issues, FOF 77-78, 89, 104, 119, 133-34, 138-40,...

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