This opinion will be unpublished and

may not be cited except as provided by

Minn. Stat. § 480A.08, subd. 3 (1996).




In the Matter of the Welfare of: B.J.

Filed April 8, 1997


Davies, Judge

Blue Earth County District Court

File No. J49551092

Allen P. Eskens, Rockow Eskens Law Office, P.O. Box 3412, Mankato, MN 56002-3412 (for appellant mother)

Ross E. Arneson, Blue Earth County Attorney, Mark A. Lindahl, Assistant County Attorney, P.O. Box 3129, Mankato, MN 56002-3129 (for respondent Blue Earth County)

Considered and decided by Kalitowski, Presiding Judge, Davies, Judge, and Mansur, Judge.[*]



Appellant-mother challenges the district court's order terminating her parental rights to her minor daughter, arguing that the County made no reasonable efforts to reunite the family. We affirm.


B.J. was born to appellant Wanda Johnson-Anderson and Jeff Van Johnson on January 28, 1990. The couple separated shortly after B.J. was born and they were divorced in March 1993. In November 1992, Blue Earth County (the County) began child protection proceedings on B.J.'s behalf because appellant had been emotionally abusive and neglectful of B.J.'s needs.[1] B.J. was placed in foster care, and a reunification plan was created. By March 1994, appellant had made some progress toward completing the goals required under the plan, and the County returned B.J. to appellant's care. In July 1994, appellant remarried and, without notifying the County, moved with B.J. to Pine County.

During a January 1995 visit to Blue Earth County, appellant was arrested and jailed for assaulting a boyfriend. The County then filed a second child protection petition and B.J. was returned to the foster home. Following a hearing in March 1995, B.J. was adjudicated a "child in need of protection or services." Appellant was given six months to comply with a new reunification plan.

In December 1995, the County, finding that no significant progress had been made, petitioned to terminate both appellant's and the father's parental rights. In August 1996, the district court terminated the parental rights of both parents on the grounds that: (1) the father had abandoned the child; (2) appellant had failed to comply with parental duties; (3) appellant was palpably unfit to parent; and (4) reasonable efforts had not corrected the conditions leading to the CHIPS adjudication. Appellant brings this appeal. The father's termination is not before the court.



Appellant argues that her parental rights cannot be terminated because the County made no reasonable efforts to reunite the family. We disagree.

Appellant fails in her reliance on Minn. Stat. § 260.012(a) and (b) (1996) to sustain her argument, for the statute simply states that a court must ensure that reasonable efforts are made to reunite a child with the child's family. There are instances, such as here, when further efforts to reunite would be unreasonable. See In re Welfare of S.Z., 547 N.W.2d 886, 892 (Minn. 1996) ("In some cases, any provision of services or further provision of services would be futile, and therefore unreasonable.").

We disagree with appellant's contention that the County made no reasonable efforts to reunite the family. Under the first reunification plan, the County referred appellant to an in-home counselor and furnished substantial transportation and mental health counseling. Appellant prematurely terminated such services by moving out of the county. Further, whatever skills had been learned under the first reunification plan were not put into practice after the move. For example, appellant failed to maintain a stable living situation, was arrested for assault, and became involved in unstable relationships.

Under the second reunification plan, the County provided supervised visits and set up in-home services. The County's efforts were frustrated, however, because of appellant's work schedule. Appellant also rejected the County's recommended counseling. The record shows that the County made reasonable efforts to reunite the family.


Appellant next argues that her parental rights cannot be terminated because the trial court did not make a specific finding that the County pursued reasonable efforts to reunify the family. The court, in parental termination proceedings, "shall make findings and conclusions as to the provision of reasonable efforts." Minn. Stat. § 260.012(c) (1996); see also In re Welfare of S.Z., 547 N.W.2d at 892 (court must determine that county made reasonable efforts to reunite family).

Here, the district court addressed the reunification efforts made under the first plan. It also considered the length of time the County had provided assistance. The court found that appellant's frequently changing employment schedule and her lack of cooperation excused the County's lack of intervention under the second plan. The court also found that it would be unfair to B.J. for the County to spend a longer period attempting to rehabilitate appellant. These findings compare favorably with those in In re Welfare of S.Z., in which the Minnesota Supreme Court was satisfied with the district court's findings that "services were provided to [the parent] and that additional services would be unrealistic." 547 N.W.2d 892-93. We hold that the district court made sufficient findings.

Minn. Stat. § 260.221 (1996), which provides the grounds for parental termination, states that a court may terminate parental rights if it finds that any one of eight statutory bases for termination exist. The court, in this instance, ruled that three of the statutory grounds were satisfied.


[ ]* Retired judge of the district court, serving as judge of the Minnesota Court of Appeals by appointment pursuant to Minn. Const. art. VI, § 10.

[ ]1 The County also instituted child protection proceedings on behalf of appellant's other two children, both younger than B.J. Appellant voluntarily terminated her parental rights to these two children in November 1994.