In re Involuntary Termination of Parent-Child Relationship of B.F., 031519 INCA, 18A-JT-1967

Docket Nº:18A-JT-1967
Opinion Judge:CRONE, JUDGE.
Party Name:In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of B.F., Je.F., Jay.F., Jar.F., C.F., Ky.F., and Ke.F. (Minor Children) v. Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner and C.B. (Mother) and J.F. (Father), Appellants-Respondents,
Attorney:Attorney for Appellant C.B. Mark Small Indianapolis, Indiana Attorney for Appellant J.F. Cara Schaefer Wieneke Wieneke Law Office, LLC Brooklyn, Indiana Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General Sierra A. Murray Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
Judge Panel:Vaidik, C.J., and Mathias, J., concur.
Case Date:March 15, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of Indiana
 
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In the Matter of the Involuntary Termination of the Parent-Child Relationship of B.F., Je.F., Jay.F., Jar.F., C.F., Ky.F., and Ke.F. (Minor Children)

and

C.B. (Mother) and J.F. (Father), Appellants-Respondents,

v.

Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner

No. 18A-JT-1967

Court of Appeals of Indiana

March 15, 2019

Pursuant to Ind. Appellate Rule 65(D), this Memorandum Decision shall not be regarded as precedent or cited before any court except for the purpose of establishing the defense of res judicata, collateral estoppel, or the law of the case.

Appeal from the Vigo Circuit Court The Honorable Sarah K. Mullican, Judge, The Honorable Daniel W. Kelly, Magistrate Trial Court Cause Nos. 84C01-1710-JT-1441, -1442, -1443, -1444, -1445, -1446, -1447

Attorney for Appellant C.B. Mark Small Indianapolis, Indiana Attorney for Appellant J.F. Cara Schaefer Wieneke Wieneke Law Office, LLC Brooklyn, Indiana

Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General Sierra A. Murray Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana

MEMORANDUM DECISION

CRONE, JUDGE.

Case Summary

[¶1] C.B. ("Mother") appeals the involuntary termination of her parental rights to seven of her minor children, and J.F. ("Father") appeals the involuntary termination of his parental rights to six of those children.1 We affirm.

Facts and Procedural History

[¶2] Mother and Father (collectively "Parents") are the biological parents of Je.F. (born October 14, 2008), Jay.F. (born December 18, 2009), Jar.F. (born November 20, 2010), C.F. (born February 3, 2012), Ky.F. (born February 20, 2013), and Ke.F. (born May 15, 2015), and Mother is the biological parent of B.F. (born March 28, 2002) (collectively "the Children").2 In April 2015, the Indiana Department of Child Services ("DCS") received a report alleging physical abuse and medical neglect of the Children by Parents. DCS determined that Je.F. had suffered bruising due to inappropriate physical discipline and that several of the Children had unaddressed medical issues. Accordingly, DCS filed child in need of services ("CHINS") petitions as to the Children on June 3, 2015.3 Following a hearing, the trial court adjudicated the Children as CHINS pursuant to stipulation of the parties. The Children remained in the home; however, the trial court issued dispositional decrees ordering both Mother and Father to participate in various home-based and individual services.

[¶3] DCS continued to receive reports of physical abuse and domestic violence in the home. DCS was able to substantiate reports that Father kicked three-month-old Ke.F. and threw her out of her infant seat. DCS was also able to substantiate that Father threw Je.F. into a dresser, which resulted in bruising and a "goose egg" bump on his head. Mother's App. Vol. 2 at 51.4 DCS implemented intensive services and made a safety plan to try to keep the Children in the home. However, in January 2016, after B.F. was "hit in the mouth" and Ja.F. sustained "suspicious injuries," DCS determined that it was "no longer able to ensure the safety of the [C]hildren if left in the home." Id. at 52; Tr. Vol. 2 at 13. Accordingly, the Children were removed from Parents' care on January 11, 2016.5

[¶4] Parents were largely compliant with services, and an in-home trial visit was granted in February 2017. However, Parents' volatile relationship continued to be an issue, the Children's behavior quickly regressed, and DCS received new reports of physical abuse and medical neglect. Specifically, Je.F. had a cut on his face, and C.F. had a blackeye and marks on her buttocks consistent with physical abuse. C.F. also had a "popped MERSA boil" that needed, but was not getting, medical attention. Tr. Vol. 2. at 241. The Children were again removed from Parents' care in May 2017.

[¶5] After virtually no progress was made by Parents in services over the next year, termination petitions were filed, and following a hearing held on July 23 and 24, 2018, the trial court found and concluded in relevant part as follows:6

17. There is a reasonable probability that the conditions that resulted in the [Children's] removal or the reasons for placement outside the home of the [P]arents will not be remedied, and there is a reasonable probability that the continuation of the parent-child relationship poses a threat to the well-being of the [Children], as more particularly described below.

A. Throughout the life of the [CHINS] proceedings, there has been a pattern whereby Mother engages in services and is largely compliant but fails to implement that which she has been taught through services. Through testing that was done as part of a psychological evaluation, DCS determined that Mother's intellectual functioning is extremely limited. Her IQ score of 63 on the Wechsler Adult Intelligence Scale, Fourth Edition (WAIS-IV), places [Mother] in the "extremely low range" of intellectual functioning for her age. Psychologist Dr. Leah Powell found these results to be an accurate reflection of Mother's current level of cognitive functioning. Dr. Powell also found that Mother appeared to be sad most of the time. She reported feeling generally unlucky. She also felt a need to "protect" her children, rather than allowing them the independence necessary to become autonomous.

B. When DCS became involved with the family in 2015, all the children six years old and under were still in diapers and nonverbal. The court concludes from the evidence that the Children's inability to speak was the result of a combination of untreated hearing loss, cognitive impairment and lack of...

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