In re Lu.G. and Li.G., 031519 INCA, 18A-JC-1760
|Opinion Judge:||Crone, Judge.|
|Party Name:||In re the Matter of Lu.G. and Li.G. (Minor Children), Children in Need of Services, andA.G. (Mother), Appellant-Respondent, v. Indiana Department of Child Services, Appellee-Petitioner|
|Attorney:||Attorney for Appellant Luisa M. White Lafayette, Indiana Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General Abigail R. Recker 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|
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 Howard Circuit Court The Honorable Lynn Murray, Judge Trial Court Cause Nos. 34C01-1803-JC-109, -110
Attorney for Appellant Luisa M. White Lafayette, Indiana
Attorneys for Appellee Curtis T. Hill, Jr. Attorney General Abigail R. Recker Deputy Attorney General Indianapolis, Indiana
[¶1] A.G. ("Mother") appeals the trial court's determination that her minor children, Li.G. and Lu.G. ("the Children"), are children in need of services ("CHINS"). Mother contends that the trial court abused its discretion in admitting evidence and that the evidence is insufficient to support the CHINS adjudication. Finding no reversible error in the admission of evidence and that sufficient evidence supports the CHINS adjudication, we affirm.
Facts and Procedural History
[¶2] The Children were born on February 13, 2018. The following day, the Indiana
Department of Child Services ("DCS") received a report that the Children had been born premature at thirty-three weeks; their umbilical cord blood tests were positive for amphetamine and methamphetamine; and Mother had tested positive for methamphetamine on January 25 and February 13. In response, DCS family case manager Jana Caudill performed a preliminary assessment. During Caudill's interview of Mother on February 15, Mother stated that she used drugs in the early stages of pregnancy but stopped using at twelve weeks when she learned that she was pregnant. Mother explained that she had been using drugs because she was depressed and suicidal after her mother died in May 2017. Mother had begun therapy through Howard Community Health Network. Mother was unemployed, did not have stable housing, and was looking for a place to live.
[¶3] On March 19, DCS filed a CHINS petition, alleging that since the Children's birth, Mother had three negative drug screens but tested positive for methamphetamine on March 9 and 13; Mother denied using any substance that would result in her testing positive for methamphetamine; and Mother was still looking for housing because she could not remain at her current location for more than fourteen days. The CHINS petition also alleged that Mother's husband ("Father") was incarcerated at Pendleton Correctional Facility until June 2019. The trial court conducted an initial hearing that day and authorized the Children's removal from Mother's care.
[¶4] On May 7, the trial court held a factfinding hearing. Father stipulated that the Children were CHINS. Caudill testified. During her testimony, DCS introduced Exhibits 1 and 2, the records from the Children's umbilical cord drug screens. Mother objected to the exhibits based on lack of foundation, arguing that Caudill had mischaracterized the drug screens as tests of the Children themselves, but the tests were done on blood from the umbilical cords. Tr. Vol. 2 at 6-8. The trial court observed that the exhibits were accompanied by an affidavit from the custodian of the testing lab that indicated that the drug screens were conducted on umbilical cord blood. Id. at 7-8. The trial court concluded that the exhibits were self-authenticating and admitted them over Mother's objection. Id. at 8. DCS's counsel asked Caudill what the results of the Children's drug screens at birth had been, and Caudill testified that the umbilical cord blood drug screens for both children were positive for methamphetamine. Id. at 8. Mother...
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