This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
STATE OF MINNESOTA
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of the Welfare of the Child of:
J. J. B. and G. A. K.,
In the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of:
J. J. B. and J. L. H.,
Filed November 22, 2005
Lake County District Court
File Nos. J6-05-50003, J4-05-50004,
Mark C. Jennings, 509 Board of Trade Building,
Russell H. Conrow, Lake County Attorney, Bruce L. Anderson, Assistant Lake County Attorney, Lake County Courthouse, 601 Third Avenue, Two Harbors, MN 55616 (for respondent)
Considered and decided by Willis, Presiding Judge; Minge, Judge; and Worke, Judge.
U N P U B L I S H E D O P I N I O N
On January 18, 2005, child-in-need-of-protective-services(CHIPS)petitions were filed on behalf of each of appellant J.J.B.’s four minor children after an incident that occurred on January 12, 2005, wherein appellant alleged that she had been raped by three or four men in her home two days earlier while the children were in the home. The petitions also alleged that both the police and Lake County Human Services had numerous contacts with appellant’s children over the preceding four years. The contacts included complaints of excessive unexcused absences from school, a physical confrontation between appellant’s 15-year-old daughter C.B. and appellant, and concerns about appellant’s inadequate supervision, and her alcohol and illegal drug use. A trial was held on April 15, 2005. On April 18, 2005, the district court issued dispositions on each of the petitions finding that the children were in need of protection or services under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subds. 6(8), (9) (2004). On appeal, appellant argues that the record lacks clear and convincing evidence that (a) the children lack proper parental care because of their mother’s disability; and (b) the mother’s environment is injurious or dangerous to the children. Because we conclude that the record supports the district court’s findings that the children are in need of protection or services, we affirm.
D E C I S I O N
CHIPS findings are not reversed
unless clearly erroneous, or unsupported by substantial evidence. In re
Welfare of D.N., 523 N.W.2d 11, 13 (Minn. App. 1994), review denied (Minn. Nov. 29, 1994). A close review inquires into the sufficiency
of the evidence to determine whether the evidence is clear and convincing. In re Welfare of J.M., 574 N.W.2d
717, 724 (
Appellant argues that respondent failed to prove by substantial evidence that appellant’s mental health is such that it leaves her children without proper parental care. Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(8) (2004) provides that a child is in need of protection or services if the child “is without proper parental care because of the emotional, mental, or physical disability, or state of immaturity of the child’s parent, guardian, or other custodian[.]” The evidence in this case shows that on January 12, 2005, appellant contacted the Two Harbors Police Department to report that she had been drugged and raped by three or four men in her home two days earlier while her children were sleeping upstairs. Appellant also reported that her 18-year-old daughter came home during the assault and was also sexually assaulted by the men. Appellant was taken to the hospital and given a full examination; however, no evidence of a sexual assault was found. Appellant tested positive for amphetamines. Appellant also admitted to hospital staff that she had snorted two lines of cocaine on the date the alleged rape took place. Police interviewed appellant’s 18-year-old daughter who informed the police that she had not been sexually assaulted and knew nothing about a sexual assault on her mother.
On February 2, 2005, a psychological assessment of appellant was conducted and the assessor recommended that appellant’s chemical use and psychological issues be addressed in therapy prior to appellant regaining custody of her children and that custody status be reevaluated in three to six months. On February 7, 2005, a chemical-use assessment was conducted on appellant. The assessor found that appellant to be a “poor historian” on her background and to withhold truthful information that would enable her to get the help she needs. The assessor also recommended that appellant’s children not be returned to her until her mental-health issues have been addressed and stabilized, and more accurate information on her chemical use is revealed.
Finally, during a supervised visit with the children on February 15, 2005, appellant began having difficulty breathing and experiencing paranoia. The police were called and appellant was taken to the hospital. At the hospital, appellant told hospital staff that she believed someone at work had poisoned her with rat poison. The physicians found no physical evidence that appellant had been poisoned; however, appellant did test positive for methamphetamine. After appellant was discharged from the emergency department, she voluntarily checked herself into the psychiatric ward for a 72-hour hold due to increasing symptoms of acute psychosis. Upon admission to the psychiatric ward, appellant was prescribed Zoloft; however, appellant claims that she did not take it. During a therapy session in the psychiatric ward, appellant told the therapist that she is extremely fearful of people in the Two Harbors area who were recently arrested for drugs. Appellant stated that she had been receiving threatening telephone calls from these individuals stating that they were going to poison her with rat poison. Appellant also informed the therapist that she believed these individuals were spying on her because she heard people in the rafters of her apartment complex, and heard people knocking on her windows and doors. Appellant stated that she has had numerous difficulties within the social system in the town and feels that the town has it out for her.
The district court found that appellant could offer no explanation for the January 12 and February 15 hospitalization incidents, or why, when she was prescribed medication to deal with such circumstances, she did not take and has not taken any medication. In addition, the findings reflect that appellant admitted at trial that she now believes that the rape did not occur. The district court’s findings that appellant’s four minor children lack proper parental care and are in need of protection or services because of the emotional, mental, or physical disability, or state of immaturity of the child’s parent, guardian, or other custodian under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(8) are supported by clear and convincing evidence.
Appellant next argues that the district court erred in finding that appellant’s home environment is injurious or dangerous to her minor children because the district court relied on mere allegations of drug and alcohol abuse, and improper housekeeping. Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(9) (2004) provides that a child is in need of protection or services if the child “is one whose behavior, condition, or environment is such as to be injurious or dangerous to the child or others. An injurious or dangerous environment may include, but is not limited to, the exposure of a child to criminal activity in the child’s home[.]” Again, the district court’s findings are supported by the record. The district court found that the evidence established that appellant suffers from a mental or emotional condition or chemical abuse or dependency issues or some combination thereof which deprives the children of proper parental care and exposes them to an environment which is injurious or dangerous to themselves or others. In addition to the findings of the district court, the record reflects that appellant repeatedly allowed her 15-year-old daughter C.B. to sleep in the same bed as C.B.’s 18-year-old boyfriend, the children had excessive unexcused absences from school, C.B. was not attending school at all when the petitions were filed, and since July 22, 2000, Lake County Human Services had 22 intake reports concerning appellant’s neglect of her children.
The district court’s findings that appellant’s four minor children are without proper parental care because appellant’s environment is such as to be injurious or dangerous to the minor children and they are in need of protection or services within the meaning of Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(9) are supported by clear and convincing evidence.