In re K.P.A.

Decision Date12 December 2014
Docket Number111,842.
Citation339 P.3d 413 (Table)
PartiesIn the Interest of K.P.A. III, A Child in Need of Care, Date of Birth: xx/xx/2012.
CourtKansas Court of Appeals

339 P.3d 413 (Table)

In the Interest of K.P.A. III, A Child in Need of Care, Date of Birth: xx/xx/2012.

111,842.

Court of Appeals of Kansas.

Dec. 12, 2014.


Jennifer Wyatt, of Salina, for appellant natural father.

Kassie L. McEntire, assistant county attorney, and Ellen Mitchell, county attorney, for appellee.

Before ATCHESON, P.J., POWELL, J., and JOHNSON, S.J.

MEMORANDUM OPINION

PER CURIAM.

K.P.A. II (Father) appeals from the termination of his parental rights to his third son, K.P.A. III. Father claims the evidence did not support the district court's finding of unfitness and decision to terminate his parental rights. We affirm.

Factual and Procedural History

K.P.A. III was born on May 24, 2012 to A.W. (Mother) and Father. K.P.A. was adjudicated a child in need of care on December 13, 2012, and the State filed a motion for termination of Father's parental rights on September 25, 2013. Mother voluntarily relinquished her parental rights and is not the subject of this appeal. After an evidentiary hearing, the district court terminated Father's parental rights, resulting in this appeal.

The Kansas Department for Children and Families (DCF) first received a report about K.P.A. when he was still in the hospital after being born. There was a concern about whether his parents had the necessary supplies at home to care for him. The DCF social worker met with K.P.A.'s parents who, at the time, were temporarily living in a hotel room in Salina with three other adults. Father indicated they would receive diapers, formula, and a car seat from the hospital and additional diapers from Father's grandmother. Two of the men living in the hotel room with the parents took the DCF social worker to a storage unit that contained a small supply of baby supplies for K.P.A., including a bassinette, a baby swing, and various baby clothes. The worker testified it all needed cleaned before it could be used for K.P.A. Ultimately, K.P.A. was allowed to go home with Father and Mother.

DCF received another report about K.P.A. about a month later that the living conditions were not good and that the parents were sleeping rather than getting up with the children (K.P.A. and another of Mother's children) in the morning. Three more reports were received in August 2012: one given anonymously; one by the DCF social worker herself; and one by Father, alleging Mother and K.P.A. were living with a sex offender in a house on Osage Street in Salina. The DCF worker who visited the home testified the main floor of the home was very dark and cluttered, and the kitchen was dirty, messy, and very unsanitary. When Mother brought K.P.A. from the basement, K.P.A. had such an overwhelming body odor that the worker had to hold him away from her. He was filthy. He had cradle cap about a half inch thick, head lice, and open sores under his neck and arms, and his head leaned to one side. K.P.A. was removed from the home and placed in foster care on August 17, 2012; he was about 2 1/2 months old. After being removed, he was diagnosed with toticollis, meaning his neck muscles were very tight and difficult for him to use due to being in a lying down position or strapped in a car seat for extended periods of time.

Father testified he lived with Mother and K.P.A. on State Street in Salina for the first 2 1/2 weeks after K.P.A. was born. Father claimed he provided K.P.A.'s care and Mother did not participate. He testified he tried to take K.P.A. and leave the home, but Mother and the two other men living in the home prevented it. Father testified he was worried about K.P.A. so he called the police who tried to do a welfare check, but no one answered the door. However, Father did not tell the police that Mother and the other men had kept him from leaving the house with K.P.A. Father claimed that because he did not have the money to hire an attorney and was unaware that Kansas Legal Services provided free or low cost legal assistance, he decided to call DCF and report the abuse and neglect of K.P.A.

Father testified he lived with a friend in Salina after he left the house on State Street. In August, Father told the DCF worker he had stayed in the house with Mother and K.P.A. for at least a few days. Mother and K.P.A. were living in the State Street house on August 7, 2012, when Father made the report to DCF, but when the DCF worker tried to locate them a few days later, Mother and K.P.A. had moved to a house on Osage Street. K.P.A. was removed from the Osage Street house and placed in foster care. Father blamed Mother for K.P.A.'s physical condition, but the DCF worker testified K.P.A.'s physical condition developed over the course of his 2 1/2 months of life, not within a matter of days.

DCF's contracting agency, TFI, handled this case from August 2012 when K.P.A. came into its care until July 1, 2013, when the contracting agency changed and St. Francis Community Services (SFCS) took over the case. The original case plan goal was reintegration, but it was changed to adoption in November 2013.

Father's work and living arrangements

Father testified his own father kicked him out of the house when he was 17 years old. Father worked at Long John Silver's and Wendy's while attending school. He lived on his own and paid his own bills for a year.

In 2011 Father began a relationship with Mother. She became pregnant almost right away. Their relationship lasted about 10 months and ended when K.P.A. was born. Father then lived with a friend in Salina for 2 months while looking for a job. After that, he moved to Great Bend to live with his grandparents for a couple of months. While in Great Bend he met J.M., and they started a relationship. Father moved in with her and her two children in late 2012. During that relationship, Father testified he worked as the head cook for a bistro for 3 months, at Sonic for 7 months, and provided child care for J.M.'s children. Father claimed he provided pay stubs to SFCS every other week while working for Sonic, but the case worker testified the only pay stubs provided to the agency while Father lived in Great Bend were 2 months from Sonic in August and September 2013. Father never provided pay stubs to verify his employment at the bistro. Father estimated his relationship with J.M. lasted about 13 months; in the fall of 2013, he moved out of her home and back in with his grandparents.

Soon after, he returned to Salina to live with his other grandparents. Father testified he chose to move to Salina because he wanted to see one of his other children (J.W.) more often. J.W. lived in Salina with J.W.'s maternal grandparents who held temporary guardianship of him. Father also had a son (T.N.) who resided with his mother in Colorado. Father testified he received pictures of T.N. but did not have regular contact with him. Father paid child support for T.N. that was withheld from his paychecks when he worked at Sonic and the bistro in Great Bend.

Father reported he became employed by Spangles in Salina but again failed to provide pay stubs to verify his employment. In September 2013, he met and started a relationship with K.T., who lived outside Salina in Culver, Kansas, with her four children. In December 2013, Father started watching K.T.'s children while she worked the dayshift as a nurse. K.T. testified she would pick Father up from his grandmother's house in Salina, he would stay with K.T. in Culver for a few days and watch her children while she worked, then she would take him back to Salina.

In February 2014, Father reported he was working “under the table” for the City of Culver by knocking on doors and requesting vehicles in the street be moved for snow removal. Again Father did not provide documentation to verify his employment. Also in February 2014, Father and K.T. signed a lease together for a house in Salina. The monthly payments covered all bills and expenses, such as utilities, related to the home. K.T. and Father agreed she would continue working as a nurse and Father would provide her child care services. K.T. began working the night shift, so Father watched her children all night as well as her 5–year–old son during the day while the older three children attended school and K.T. slept. Every other week, K.T.'s children would spend Thursday and Friday with their father. K.T. testified she expected they would change their child care arrangement once the 5–year–old started school. K.T. testified Father had recently applied for jobs at a few stores, fastfood restaurants, and gas stations in Salina and was also interested in attending school in the fall.

Father's Case Plan Tasks

Father's case plan tasks required him to: (1) obtain and maintain an appropriate residence which would remain clean, sanitary, and free from bedbugs and head lice; (2) provide monthly rent and utility receipts; (3) maintain employment adequate to meet his family's financial needs; (4) provide pay stubs as employment verification; (5) complete a psychological evaluation with a parenting component and follow all recommendations; (6) participate in parenting classes geared towards age specific information for parenting his children; (7) submit random urinalysis (UA) samples upon request; (8) complete a drug and alcohol evaluation and follow all recommendations; (9) keep the agency apprised of all other individuals residing in the home with him; and (10) attend...

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