This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2000).

 

STATE OF MINNESOTA

IN COURT OF APPEALS

C2-01-1536

 

In the Matter of the Welfare of:

 

D.J., D.J., D.J., D.J.

 

Filed February 26, 2002

Affirmed

Harten, Judge

 

Hennepin County District Court

File No. J6-00-59081

 

Leonardo Castro, Chief Public Defender, P.O. Box 1059, Mankato, MN 56002-1059; and

 

David Murrin, Assistant County Public Defender, 317 Second Avenue South, Suite 200, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for appellant mother)

 

Amy Klobuchar, Hennepin County Attorney, Mary Martin Lynch, Assistant County Attorney, 525 Portland Avenue South, Suite 1200, Minneapolis, MN 55415 (for respondent Hennepin County Child, Family and Adult Services Department)

 

Stephen M. Goldfarb, Goldfarb & Associates, P.A., 4600 West 29th Street, St. Louis Park, MN 55416 (for respondent guardian ad litem)

 

Paul D. Schneck, 300 Union Plaza, 333 Washington Avenue North, Minneapolis, MN 55401 (for respondent father)

 

            Considered and decided by Anderson, Presiding Judge, Harten, Judge, and Stoneburner, Judge.


U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

 

HARTEN, Judge

 

Appellant, a mother whose parental rights were terminated, challenges the district court’s refusal to place the children with their paternal grandmother.  Because the district court’s findings address the statutory criteria, are supported by the evidence, and are not clearly erroneous, we affirm.

FACTS

 

            Appellant Laura Jackson and respondent Charles Jackson[1] are the parents of four children, now ages 8, 6, 3, and 19 months.  The three older children have lived outside their parents’ home for over two years, and the youngest has never lived in the home.  All four have been determined to be CHIPS.  It is undisputed that the parents, despite repeated and significant attempts to help them, are unable to provide a suitable home for their children now or in the foreseeable future.[2] 

Both parents want the children placed with the children’s paternal grandmother, who resides in Chicago.  However, the Interstate Compact Home Study by Illinois authorities that was done on the grandmother did not recommend this placement because: (1) her financial situation is precarious; (2) she has no daycare option for the children other than her own mother (their great-grandmother) who is 68 and already cares for four other children; (3) she has no support system in the event that she becomes ill or disabled; (4) she is involved with a man who has a serious drinking problem; (5) she has developed no relationship with the children; (6) she does not understand or appreciate the emotional and behavioral problems of the oldest child; (7) she has not intervened to prevent the abuse of other grandchildren; (8) she had difficulty parenting her own children once they reached their teens; (9) she comes from a family with a pattern of domestic violence, substance abuse, and child neglect; and (10) she would be unlikely to abide by the restrictions on her son’s [respondent’s] contact with the children.

The district court deferred its decision until the home study was available.  Then, in accord with the recommendation of the home study, it terminated the parties’ parental rights and declined to place the children with their paternal grandmother.  The district court found:

The evidence in this case is both clear and convincing that [the parties] have failed to correct the conditions that led to the removal of their children from their home.  They have substantially and continuously refused to comply with the basic duties of parenting.  It is clearly in the best interest of these four children that they be allowed the chance to have a stable home.  They will never have that with [their parents.]

The record will reflect that [the parties] were given every opportunity to comply with their case plan and parent their children.  But each has indicated that he/she will not.

 

The only issue before us is appellant’s challenge to the district court’s refusal to place the children with their grandmother.[3]

D E C I S I O N

           

When a trial court’s findings in a termination case are challenged, appellate courts are limited to determining whether the findings address the statutory criteria, whether those findings are supported by substantial evidence, and whether they are clearly erroneous.

 

In re Welfare of D.D.G., 558 N.W.2d 481, 484 (Minn. 1997) (citation omitted). 

We determine first that the findings address the relevant statutory criteria.  Minn. Stat. § 260.851, Article 3(d) (2000) dealing with conditions for placement, provides that:

The child shall not be sent [to another state] * * * until the appropriate public authorities in the receiving state shall notify the sending agency, in writing, to the effect that the proposed placement does not appear to be contrary to the interests of the child.

 

Here, the appropriate public authorities in Illinois notified the district court that the proposed placement of these children would be contrary to the children’s best interests; the home study did not recommend it.  Therefore, the district court lacked authority to send the children to Illinois.[4]

Appellant relies on Minn. Stat. § 260C.001, subd. 3(2) (2000), providing that, when placement with parents is not feasible, children receive “a safe and permanent placement, preferably with adoptive parents or a fit and willing relative through transfer of permanent legal and physical custody to that relative.”  But the “paramount consideration” remains the best interests of the children.  As the district court noted, the paternal grandmother is willing, but the home study revealed that she is not a fit custodian for these four children.  The district court’s finding that the children should not be sent to Illinois for placement with their grandmother addressed the statutory criteria and is supported by the evidence.  The district court wrote:

The Court obtained and analyzed the Home study of the paternal grandmother.  The Court concurs with the author that placement with her is not appropriate.  The paternal grandmother wants to provide for these four children, but her economic situation, her neighborhood, her parenting plans, her parenting attitudes make it doubtful that she would be able to provide these children with an appropriate home.

 

The home study provides a detailed analysis of each of the points mentioned by the district court and provides ample evidentiary support for its finding.

            We see no error of law in the district court’s determination that it would not be in these children’s best interests to place them with their paternal grandmother.

Affirmed.



[1] While listed as a respondent, Charles Jackson takes no part in this appeal, and his interests are identical to appellant’s.

[2] Appellant also has three older children, ages 13, 12 and 10.  Her rights to them have already been terminated.

[3]Appellant also contends that the district court erroneously based its ruling on the absence of a motion under Minn. R. Juv. P. 70.01, subd. 4 (2000), providing that parties who disagree with other parties’ determinations of permanent placement shall file a petition.  While the district court noted that no party had filed a motion relative to permanent placement, its order terminating parental rights and denying placement with the grandmother was clearly based on the evidence.

[4] Minn. Stat. § 260.851, Article 4 (2000) provides that sending children from one state to another “in violation of the terms of this compact” is a violation of the laws of both states and may be punished by the laws of either.