This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (2004).








In the Matter of the Welfare of the Children of:

G. W., T. T., and G. A., Sr., Parents



Filed August 8, 2006


Toussaint, Chief Judge


St. Louis County District Court

File No. 69DU-JV-05-274



Mark C. Jennings, 509 Board of Trade Building, 301 West First Street, Duluth, MN 55802-1613 (for appellant father)


Alan L. Mitchell, St. Louis County Attorney, Benjamin M. Stromberg, Assistant County Attorney, 320 West Second Street, Room 403, Duluth, MN 55802-1495 (for respondent St. Louis County Social Services Department)


Jean E. Johnson, 394 Lake Avenue South, Suite 301, Duluth, MN 55802 (for respondent children A.J.A., R.J.A., and S.J.A.)


Alex Jackson, Post Office Box 3679, Duluth, MN 55802 (respondent guardian ad litem)



            Considered and decided by Worke, Presiding Judge; Toussaint, Chief Judge; and Kalitowski, Judge.

U N P U B L I S H E D   O P I N I O N

TOUSSAINT, Chief Judge

Appellant-father G.A., Sr. challenges the adjudication of his children as children in need of protection or services (CHIPS) under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(4) (2004).  Because we see no abuse of discretion in the adjudication, we affirm.


            Appellant and G.W. are the parents of two daughters, S., 17, and R., 14; appellant and T.T. are the parents of a son, A., 13.[1]  In June 2005, the children were removed from appellant’s home to a shelter, and respondent St. Louis County Social Services Department filed a petition to declare them CHIPS under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(2), (3), (8), (9) (2004).  At the end of the two-day trial, respondent moved to amend its petition to declare the children CHIPS under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(4) (2004).  The district court granted the motion to amend and adjudicated the children CHIPS under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(4).  Appellant challenges the adjudication. [2]

The juvenile court has “broad discretion” in making CHIPS dispositions, and its dispositional findings are accepted unless clearly erroneous. In re Welfare of T.P., 492 N.W.2d 267, 268 (Minn. App. 1992).  To be declared CHIPS under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(4), a child must be “without the special care made necessary by a physical, mental, or emotional condition because the child’s parent, guardian, or custodian is unable or unwilling to provide that care, including a child in voluntary placement due solely to the child’s developmental disability or emotional disturbance[.]”

The district court found that each child has such a condition, and the record supports those findings.  A social worker testified that S. “fits the criteria for Obsessive Compulsive Disorder” because “she has a lot of different types of ritualistic and compulsive behaviors.”  The social worker testified that R. had been hospitalized because she was self-injurious, had been diagnosed with a depressive disorder, and was then being treated with medication and therapy.  The guardian ad litem reported that, although appellant knew A. needed to be on medication, A. had been without it for a year while he was in appellant’s home. The findings as to the children’s conditions are supported by the record.

The district court also found that appellant is unwilling or unable to provide the special care his children need.  More specifically, the court found that appellant is unable or unwilling to alter his own behavior.

25.       [Appellant] . . . rejected any family therapy that would involve a discussion or analysis of himself and his issues.  [Appellant] believes that he has no issues or problems and that the difficulties occurring with his children are unrelated to him.


. . . .


27.       [Appellant] denied anger problems and described his parenting style as strict, and admitted to hitting the children with an open hand . . . .


. . . .


31.       There have been no changes in the home since the incidents in the spring.  [Appellant] refused to participate in an interview with Social Services regarding the [altercation in which he hit and punched S.]  Neither parent has participated with the social worker in forming a case plan.


. . . .


33.       [Appellant] has indicated that he will not cooperate with family therapy or any recommendations that involve his behavior.


Appellant’s own testimony provides support for these findings.  He testified about an altercation with S., then 15:  “I [was] trying to get her back on the floor.  She started swinging at me.  I hit [S.].  . . .  I did punch [S.] in the head, right on the side of her head.  . . .  I’m not going to tell you how her lip got blood and split.”  Appellant testified that he is 5’10” and weighs 158, while S. is about 5’5” and weighs about 140, that during the altercation he was acting in self-defense, and that he believes he reacted appropriately to S. 

Appellant also testified that he smokes marijuana “three or four times a week” and drinks three to six beers daily, maybe a little more on the weekend.  He said he would stop smoking marijuana if his children asked him to, but, when asked if he would stop drinking beer, he said, “That’s kind of a iffy one.  I kind of like my beer, and, like I said, I don’t drink to excess where I’m falling down . . . or not aware of . . . the interactions of myself with my children.”  Appellant also said he would not take a “UA” if respondent requested one.  “[T]hat’s, again, one of the hoops that Social Services is asking me to jump through like I’m on probation for something.  They’ve asked for me to take UAs, do domestic abuse classes, do drug and alcohol counseling, assessments, therapies.  You know, that’s not necessary.”

When asked if it was more important for him not to cooperate with social services than to see his daughters, appellant answered, “I need my day in court so that people can understand what kind of parent I am . . . [That’s more important] because I don’t believe that there was anything wrong in my home.” When asked if he would cooperate with a reunification plan, he said, “[M]aybe I will, maybe I won’t. . . . It depends on how much involvement Social Services is going to have to have . . . and how many hoops I’m going to have to jump through.”  He was asked, “So, [you want] to get your kids back as long as it didn’t require you doing too much, is that what you’re saying?” He answered, “I’m not expecting me to have to do anything.  I don’t feel I was wrong.”  Appellant also said that he himself did not need counseling.

Appellant’s failure to see his own behavior as the cause of his children’s problems and his repeated unwillingness to alter that behavior indicate that he is unable and unwilling to provide the children with the special care that their conditions require.   The district court did not abuse its discretion in declaring appellant’s children to be CHIPS under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(4).


[1] The children’s mothers are not parties to this appeal.

[2] By notice of review, respondent challenges the district court’s failure to adjudicate the children CHIPS under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(2), (3), (8), (9).  Respondent contends the failure to address all the subsections was an abuse of discretion, but offers no legal support for its implied view that a district court is required to address every possible basis for adjudicating children CHIPS.  In any event, our affirmance of the adjudication under Minn. Stat. § 260C.007, subd. 6(4), makes the issue moot.