Matthew J. v. Department of Child Safety, R.J., 082919 AZAPP1, 1 CA-JV 19-0006
|Docket Nº:||1 CA-JV 19-0006|
|Opinion Judge:||Jones, Judge.|
|Party Name:||MATTHEW J., Appellant, v. DEPARTMENT OF CHILD SAFETY, R.J., T.J., LJ., Appellees.|
|Attorney:||Coronado Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Lakeside By Eduardo H. Coronado Counsel for Appellant Arizona Attorney General's Office, Mesa By Lauren J. Lowe Counsel for Appellee Department of Child Safety Taylor Law Office, Snowflake By D. Shawn Taylor Counsel for Appellees Guardian Ad Litem for R.J., T.J., L.J.|
|Judge Panel:||Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones delivered the decision of the Court, in which Vice Chief Judge Kent E. Cattani and Judge Maria Elena Cruz joined.|
|Case Date:||August 29, 2019|
|Court:||Court of Appeals of Arizona|
Not for Publication - Rule 111(c), Rules of the Arizona Supreme Court.
Appeal from the Superior Court in Navajo County No. S0900JD201700018 The Honorable Michala M. Ruechel, Judge
Coronado Law Firm, P.L.L.C., Lakeside By Eduardo H. Coronado Counsel for Appellant
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Mesa By Lauren J. Lowe Counsel for Appellee Department of Child Safety
Taylor Law Office, Snowflake By D. Shawn Taylor Counsel for Appellees Guardian Ad Litem for R.J., T.J., L.J.
Presiding Judge Kenton D. Jones delivered the decision of the Court, in which Vice Chief Judge Kent E. Cattani and Judge Maria Elena Cruz joined.
¶1 Matthew J. (Father) appeals the juvenile court's order terminating his parental rights to R.J., T.J., and L.J. (collectively, the Children). For the following reasons, we affirm.
FACTS AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
¶2 In June 2017, the Department of Child Safety (DCS) received a report that both Father and the Children's mother (Mother) were abusing drugs, homeless, and exposing the Children to dangerous substances and domestic violence.1 This investigation was closed when DCS was unable to locate the Children.
¶3 In September 2017, Mother was pulled over while driving with R.J. and T.J., then ages 5 and 3, unrestrained. After law enforcement officers found methamphetamine and two pipes in the vehicle, Mother admitted to using methamphetamine and marijuana the day before. Mother was arrested, and the Children were released to the care of their maternal grandmother. Days later, DCS found R.J. and T.J. in Mother's care wearing soiled diapers and observed them to be small in stature and developmentally delayed. Furthermore, Mother appeared to be under the influence of drugs, and none of the family members present were able or willing to assist with parenting. At the time and throughout these proceedings, Father was incarcerated in California awaiting trial on charges of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of fourteen. DCS took temporary custody of R.J. and T.J, but was unable to locate the youngest child, L.J.
¶4 DCS filed a petition alleging the Children were dependent as to Father upon grounds of neglect.2 The juvenile court adjudicated the Children dependent as to Father in November 2017. Based upon a preponderance of the evidence, the court determined Father was neglecting the Children both through his incarceration and his failure to protect the Children from Mother's substance abuse. The court also determined that R.J. and T.J. were developmentally delayed, underweight, and essentially nonverbal. Both were found to have special needs, which were not being met while under the care of their parents. Further, neither of the two were potty-trained, and doctors attributed their overall condition to neglect.
¶5 In January 2018, DCS found L.J. with Paternal Grandmother and placed her with her siblings. Like the other Children, L.J. was very small for her age and developmentally delayed; she also had an untreated cranial deformity.
¶6 At the contested severance hearing in September and October 2018, Father acknowledged he had pleaded no-contest to a charge of lewd and lascivious acts with a child under the age of fourteen and had been advised by DCS to take advantage of any services available to him in jail. And although...
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