Krystle M. v. Department of Child Safety, C.M., 111419 AZAPP1, 1 CA-JV 19-0013

Docket Nº:1 CA-JV 19-0013
Opinion Judge:THUMMA, JUDGE
Party Name:KRYSTLE M., Appellant, v. DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY, C.M., G.M., Appellees.
Attorney:The Stavris Law Firm PLLC, Scottsdale By Alison Stavris Counsel for Appellant Arizona Attorney General's Office, Mesa By Tom Jose Counsel for Appellee Department of Child Safety
Judge Panel:Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge Jennifer M. Perkins and Judge Paul J. McMurdie joined.
Case Date:November 14, 2019
Court:Court of Appeals of Arizona
 
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KRYSTLE M., Appellant,

v.

DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY, C.M., G.M., Appellees.

No. 1 CA-JV 19-0013

Court of Appeals of Arizona, First Division

November 14, 2019

Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court

Appeal from the Superior Court in Mohave County No. L8015JD201707014 The Honorable Derek C. Carlisle, Judge

The Stavris Law Firm PLLC, Scottsdale By Alison Stavris Counsel for Appellant

Arizona Attorney General's Office, Mesa By Tom Jose Counsel for Appellee Department of Child Safety

Presiding Judge Samuel A. Thumma delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge Jennifer M. Perkins and Judge Paul J. McMurdie joined.

MEMORANDUM DECISION

THUMMA, JUDGE

¶1 Krystle M. (Mother) challenges the superior court's order terminating her parental rights to her biological children CM. and G.M. Because Mother has shown no error, the order is affirmed.

FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY

¶2 Mother has a history of behavioral health issues and suffers from complex posttraumatic stress (PTSD) and attention-deficit/hyperactivity (ADHD) disorders. Mother and the children lived in Oregon, where Mother pursued mental-health counseling through the New Perspectives Center. Despite her counseling, Mother refused medication for PTSD, anxiety and depression. When triggered, Mother becomes aggressive and hostile, vacillating between intense anger, frustration and hopelessness. Before 2016, Mother learned CM. was being harassed at school, which triggered a major PTSD episode for Mother, and due to several other stressors, Mother's mental health declined.

¶3 In April 2016, Mother's counselor recommended reducing her college workload, and in June 2016, Mother was fired from her job because she was "volatile and argumentative and used profanity . . . during the training." At that time, Mother was also facing charges of reckless driving and child endangerment (stemming from a feud with her neighbors) and a related child neglect investigation by the Oregon Department of Human Services.1 Around this time, Mother sent the children to live with their grandmother in Arizona. Mother remained in Oregon. A few months later, Mother lost her housing and had to stay with various friends or, at times, lived in her car.

¶4 In Arizona, when Mother had not sought custody of the children by April 2017, the Department of Child Safety (DCS) investigated. Mother admitted prior methamphetamine use and a lack of income or housing. Based on disclosures by CM., DCS also expressed concerns that Mother was not adequately treating her mental health. Consequently, DCS took custody of the children and filed a dependency petition in April 2017. In March 2018, after several days of evidentiary hearings, the court found the children dependent as to Mother and adopted a family reunification case plan.

¶5 Meanwhile, DCS provided Mother with services, including substance-abuse testing, a psychological evaluation and visitation. DCS also asked Mother to continue engaging in mental-health services in Oregon. Regarding substance abuse, Mother refused to submit to a rule-out drug test until 2018. Mother refused a hair follicle test in February and tested positive for methamphetamine in May and June 2018. Mother then stopped testing. Despite her positive tests, admissions to her counselor and failing to test, Mother denied any recent use to DCS and the court.

¶6 Mother's mental health did not improve during the dependency. Although her mental-health providers repeatedly recommended antidepressant medication, Mother consistently refused it. She continued to struggle with severe anger, frustration and hopelessness and remained combative and verbally abusive in stressful situations. She also periodically struggled with suicidal thoughts. After getting fired in June 2016, Mother did not obtain another job, and she did not establish stable housing after October 2016.

¶7 In May 2018, Mother completed two psychological evaluations, one with Dr. Martha Wang and another with...

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