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In the Matter of:

March 5, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF: M.J., A YOUTH IN NEED OF CARE.


APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Eighth Judicial District, In and For the County of Cascade, Cause No. CDN-12-030 Honorable Kenneth R. Neill, Presiding Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Justice Laurie McKinnon

Submitted on Briefs: February 13, 2013

Decided: March 5, 2013

Filed:

Clerk

Justice Laurie McKinnon delivered the Opinion of the Court.

¶1 O.J., M.J.'s mother, appeals the order entered by the Eighth Judicial District Court, Cascade County, finding M.J. to be a youth in need of care and granting custody of M.J. to M.J. Sr., M.J.'s father. We affirm.

¶2 O.J. raises the following issues on appeal:

¶3 1. Did the District Court err in finding the child a youth in need of care?

¶4 2. Did the District Court err when it dismissed the abuse and neglect proceeding and granted custody to the father under § 41-3-438(3)(d), MCA?

Factual and Procedural Background

¶5 M.J. was born with numerous medical issues and hospitalized for the first three months of his life. M.J. suffers from liver disease, gastric reflux disease, cycocel trite, cloudy corneas, a partial occipital infarct, hearing and visual impairments, seizures, and brain damage. The suspected cause of M.J.'s medical problems was maternal drug use. At the time of M.J.'s birth, O.J. tested positive for methamphetamine. While O.J. denied methamphetamine use despite the test result, O.J. admitted to marijuana use during the pregnancy.

¶6 In addition to being treated in Great Falls, Montana, M.J. has seen a pediatric eye specialist and a gastrointestinal specialist in Billings, Montana, and has been transported to a neo-ICU unit in Seattle, Washington, for treatment, and later to a Seattle hospital for a biopsy of his liver. M.J.'s prognosis is guarded and M.J. will require ongoing pediatric specialty care beyond what is available in Montana. M.J. will need a parent who can provide constant care and has training by medical professionals in understanding how to care for M.J.

ΒΆ7 Concerns arose when M.J. was scheduled to be discharged approximately three months after birth. O.J. had not been consistently visiting M.J. and she had indicated that she would not seek follow up medical care for M.J. O.J. was defiant to hospital staff and nurse directives and would not provide her home address to the hospital. When O.J. finally provided her address, she could not be located by Child Protective ...


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