People v. William D. (In re Ay. D.)
|United States Appellate Court of Illinois
|156 N.E.3d 576,441 Ill.Dec. 241,2020 IL App (3d) 200056
|Appeal Nos. 3-20-0056,3-20-0074,3-20-0075,3-20-0058
|IN RE AY. D. and Ar. D., Minors (The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee, v. William D. and Perrisha E., Respondents-Appellants).
|02 July 2020
Kristen Messamore, of Hammel Law Offices, P.C., of Joliet, for appellant William D.
Daniel J. Kallan, of Joliet, for other appellant.
James W. Glasgow, State's Attorney, of Joliet (Patrick Delfino and Thomas D. Arado, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.
Neil J. Adams, of Joliet, for other appellees.
JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion.
¶ 1 The respondents, William D. and Perrisha E., appeal following the trial court's determination that they were unfit to parent their minor children Ar. D. (born May 2017) and Ay. D. (born June 2016) and that the minors' best interest favored terminating their parental rights.
¶ 2 I. BACKGROUND
¶ 3 In October 2016, the State filed a petition of neglect and abuse as to Ay. D., who was four months old at the time. The State alleged that Ay. D. was (1) neglected in that her environment was injurious to her welfare (705 ILCS 405/2-3(1)(b) (West 2016)) and (2) abused in that her parent inflicted, caused to be inflicted, or allowed to be inflicted upon her physical injury, other than by accidental means (705 ILCS 405/2-3(2)(i) (West 2016)). The case came to the attention of the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) when Ay. D. was treated for a broken arm and skull fracture while in William's care, and his explanation of the injuries was unsatisfactory. Perrisha was not present when the incident occurred. DCFS opened an intact family case, and William was ordered not to reside in the family home. Ar. D. was born in May 2017. Perrisha completed the recommended services, and the case was closed in July 2017.
¶ 4 In September 2017, the State filed a supplemental petition as to Ay. D. and its first petition as to four-month-old Ar. D., alleging that they were neglected in that their environment was injurious to their welfare (705 ILCS 405/2-3(1)(b) (West 2016)). The parties stipulated that Ay. D.'s injuries in October 2016 occurred while in William's care. The case came to the attention of DCFS for a second time when Ar. D. suffered numerous fractures (femur,
skull, and ribs) when Perrisha left Ar. D. with a family member and William had access to the family home. The State charged William with aggravated battery to a child for Ar. D.'s injuries. The trial court found probable cause to believe that the minors were neglected, placed temporary custody with DCFS, ordered that William have no contact with the minors and Perrisha, ordered William and Perrisha to cooperate with DCFS, and suspended William's visitation.
¶ 5 A January 2018 status report from a caseworker at One Hope United, an agency of DCFS, stated that Perrisha visited the minors bi-weekly with her mother and that she depended on support from her family to assist her with transportation. The visits usually went well, and the children appeared to enjoy their interaction with their mother. The caseworker referred Perrisha for an assessment and individual and group therapy for victim services, a substance abuse assessment, and parenting classes. Perrisha was directed to follow any recommendations from the substance abuse assessment. The caseworker noted that Perrisha appeared to be working towards reunification services and her progress would be assessed in two months. The report also noted that a caseworker visited William while he was in the custody of the Will County Detention Center. William informed the caseworker that he was engaging in substance abuse treatment and parenting classes. The caseworker recommended that William participate in the anger management program when offered through the correctional facility. Overall, the caseworker recommended a goal of returning home within 12 months and stated that the agency would continue to monitor the minors in placement and assess the needs of the family.
¶ 6 In January 2018, the trial court held an adjudicatory hearing. Patrice Rounsaville testified that she was employed as an investigator for DCFS. She stated that she had indicated William for Ar. D.'s leg fracture. At the time of Rounsaville's investigation, she learned that Ar. D. had a femur fracture and some older injuries to her skull, ribs, and abdominal area that appeared to be healing. She stated that medical professionals indicated that these injuries were nonaccidental. Rounsaville also testified that she indicated Perrisha for inadequate supervision because she left Ar. D. in the care of her sister, Ashley, and William was present. She said that this was problematic because Perrisha was aware that William was not supposed to be unsupervised with the minors. Rounsaville also stated that she learned in the course of her investigation that (1) Ashley had her own children removed by DCFS and (2) William admitted to the police that he caused the bone fractures to the minors. Rounsaville testified that there were several individuals, identified as relatives and visitors, in the home upon her arrival. She noted the living conditions were "not the best." Rounsaville noticed that the home had a slight odor, the kitchen ceiling appeared to be sinking in, roaches were in the home, and there was an inadequate food supply in the refrigerator and cabinets.
¶ 7 David Jackson, a detective with the Joliet Police Department, also testified. He stated that he interviewed William following a call he received from the hospital that a child was in the emergency room with a broken leg. He later learned that the child had a broken femur bone, which he stated was the hardest bone in the body. Jackson said that William claimed he was babysitting Ar. D. when he picked her up, locked her knee, and broke her leg. He also asked William about Ay. D.'s injuries from 2016. William stated that Ay. D.'s arm was out of the socket, and he attempted to put it back, but he put too much
pressure on her arm and broke it. Jackson also interviewed Perrisha and stated that she did not admit to causing the injuries to the minors. He also noted that Perrisha reported William in the past for domestic battery, but did not follow through. The trial court found the minors to be neglected and again admonished William and Perrisha to follow DCFS's service plans.
¶ 8 A February 2018 status report from the caseworker at One Hope United indicated that Perrisha visited the minors consistently with her mother without incident. The caseworker stated, that although family contact was encouraged, it was necessary for Perrisha to participate in visitation without any person involved so that the caseworker could assess her parenting and interaction with the minors. Perrisha adhered to the recommendation and participated and cared for the minors on her own during her last few visits. She appropriately interacted with the minors and provided them with food during visits. The report also noted that Perrisha tended to the minors' immediate needs during these visits. She successfully completed a substance abuse assessment without any further recommendations for services, provided random urine screens with negative results, and initiated domestic violence victim services. Perrisha reportedly completed a parenting class as part of her first case in 2017, but the caseworker was waiting to receive the documentation.
¶ 9 The report also stated that a caseworker visited William in jail. William did not provide any new information and did not admit to causing the minors' injuries, despite his prior admission. However, William did inform the caseworker that he participated in substance abuse treatment and parenting classes since the case was reopened in September 2017. Meanwhile, the minors resided with their paternal aunt in Joliet. It appeared that she cared for the minors adequately without any immediate concerns to be addressed. The minors appeared to be doing well and happy, attended daycare services during the day while their aunt worked, and continued to receive appropriate medical care. The caseworker recommended that (1) Perrisha continue to engage in services toward reunification with the minors, (2) Perrisha continue to maintain contact with the agency and keep her information up to date, (3) Perrisha continue to adhere to requests for random urine screens, (4) William continue to participate in case planning with the agency, (5) William provide any documentation for services he reported that he completed, and (6) DCFS continue monitoring the minor children...
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