This opinion will be unpublished and
may not be cited except as provided by
Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).
IN COURT OF APPEALS
In the Matter of the Welfare of the Child of:
Filed December 13, 2005
Scott County District Court
File No. 04-08295
Patrick J. Ciliberto, Scott County Attorney, Todd P. Zettler, Special Assistant County Attorney, Government Center JC340, 200 Fourth Avenue West, Shakopee, MN 55379 (for respondent county)
Considered and decided by Halbrooks, Presiding Judge, Klaphake, Judge, and Wright, Judge.
C.M. was born to appellant P.M.M. on
“Parental rights are terminated only for grave and weighty
reasons.” In re Welfare of M.D.O., 462
N.W.2d 370, 375 (
Minn. Stat. § 260C.301, subd. 1(b)(5), provides for termination if “following the child’s placement out of home, reasonable efforts, under the direction of the court, have failed to correct the conditions leading to the child’s placement.” Appellant argues: (1) the county’s efforts to rehabilitate her were not reasonable; (2) she substantially complied with the case plan; and (3) the district court’s findings are inadequate.
Appellant claims that the county’s efforts to rehabilitate her were not reasonable because they did not properly address her chemical addiction in a “dual diagnosis” with her mental illness. She argues that without proper diagnosis and treatment of her Attention Deficit Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD), she was doomed to relapse into drug use.
The record shows that the county provided appellant with chemical and mental health assessments soon after the child’s out-of-home placement. The initial chemical health assessment chronicled appellant’s serious and lengthy history of chemical dependency. In the next few months, appellant participated in two treatment programs: one at The Haven, an out-patient facility, and the other at Tapestry, a 60-day in-patient facility. During the spring and summer of 2003, appellant admittedly relapsed at least twice and repeatedly failed urinalysis tests, tampered with tests, or failed to participate in required tests. On June 14, 2003, appellant was arrested and charged with driving while impaired. She was discharged from The Haven in June 2003, after repeatedly using drugs and alcohol. On September 16, 2003, appellant entered in-patient chemical dependency treatment at Tapestry, but she was discharged after she failed urinalysis tests and it was discovered that she was using a narcotic to treat her mental health issues.
Regarding her mental health issues, appellant initially
was diagnosed as being bipolar, antisocial, passive-aggressive, dependent, and
having self-defeating personality traits.
In November 2003, appellant met with
has not shown that the district court clearly erred in finding the county’s
efforts to address her chemical abuse and mental health issues to be reasonable,
especially in light of appellant’s reluctance or inability to assist in her rehabilitation. We reject appellant’s claim that the county
was required to offer her a dual diagnosis treatment program to treat her
chemical and mental health issues simultaneously. At the time appellant was being treated for
chemical dependency at The Haven, she was treated separately for bipolar
disorder. This treatment was reasonable
in light of her diagnosis at the time.
Once appellant pursued independent treatment with
Appellant also argues that she substantially complied with the case plan. At the core of appellant’s plan was the requirement that she refrain from using drugs and alcohol. The district court’s findings show that appellant was unable to do this during the pendency of the child’s out-of-home placement. As such, appellant did not substantially comply with her case plan.
Appellant further claims that the district court failed
to make proper findings to support the reasonable efforts of the county. Courts are required to make specific findings
on the “nature and extent of efforts made by the social services agency to
rehabilitate the parent.” Minn. Stat. §
260C.301, subd. 8 (2004); see also
Finally, in all termination proceedings, the best interests of the child are paramount. Minn. Stat. § 260C.301, subd. 7.
In analyzing the best interests of the child, the court must balance three factors: (1) the child’s interest in preserving the parent-child relationship; (2) the parent’s interest in preserving the parent-child relationship; and (3) any competing interest of the child.
In re Welfare of Child of W.L.P., 678 N.W.2d 703, 711 (Minn. App. 2004) (quotation omitted). The district court found that it was in the child’s best interests to terminate appellant’s parental rights, stating that “[p]ermanency is necessary, and in this case termination of parental rights is the only way to achieve it.” The record and other findings made by the district court support the court’s best interest determination. The district court found that appellant cannot at this time, or in the foreseeable future, provide a stable home for the child because of her continued drug and alcohol use and unresolved mental health issues. We find no error in the district court’s determination that termination of appellant’s parental rights is in the child’s best interests.
In the event of this court’s affirmance of the
termination of her parental rights, appellant asks this court to order a
contact agreement or visitation between the child and her half-sibling. Minn. Stat. § 260C.317, subd. 1(2) (2004)
states that upon termination, the biological parent or sibling “may be a party
to a communication or contact agreement.”
Such agreements are subject to written approval by adoptive parents,
foster parents, or other relevant parties.
Appellant also claims that her mental
impairment constitutes a disability under the Americans with Disabilities Act,
42 U.S.C.A. § 12132 (2002), and that the county failed to accommodate her
disability in its efforts to rehabilitate her.
This issue was not raised to or considered by the district court. Therefore, we decline to address it. See Thiele v. Stich, 425 N.W.2d 580,
Although the record fully supports the three other statutory bases for termination found by the district court, we decline to address them individually where only one statutory ground need be present for termination. See L.A.F., 554 N.W.2d at 396-97.