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In the Matter of: K.M. and R.M.

March 26, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF: K.M. AND R.M. YOUTHS IN NEED OF CARE.


APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Seventh Judicial District, In and For the County of Dawson, Cause Nos. DN-10-015 and DN-10-016 Honorable Katherine M. Bidegaray, Presiding Judge

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Patricia Cotter

Submitted on Briefs: February 20, 2013

Decided: March 26, 2013

Filed:

Clerk

Justice Patricia O. Cotter delivered the Opinion to the Court.

¶1 Pursuant to Section I, Paragraph 3(d), Montana Supreme Court Internal Operating Rules, this case is decided by memorandum opinion and shall not be cited and does not serve as precedent. Its case title, cause number, and disposition shall be included in this Court's quarterly list of noncitable cases published in the Pacific Reporter and Montana Reports.

¶2 Mother appeals the order terminating her parental rights to her two minor daughters on the ground that the State failed to make reasonable efforts to assist her in successfully completing her treatment plan.

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

¶3 The Department of Health and Human Services, Child and Family Services Division (CFSD) has been involved with J.L. (Mother) and J.M. (Father) since 2006 when their two older children were removed and permanently placed in kinship foster care. In March 2009, Mother gave birth to R.M. CFSD remained actively involved with the family as a result of multiple reports alleging physical neglect of the newborn. During this time neither parent consistently complied with CFSD's orders or instructions. In May 2010, K.M. was born.

¶4 In July 2010, Mother and Father went out of town for several days leaving R.M. and infant K.M. with babysitters. Mother, who had a prescription for and regularly used methadone, instructed the babysitter to give liquid methadone to K.M. because she feared the baby would go into withdrawal while she was away and not breast-feeding. The authorities were notified but by that time K.M. had received methadone doses for four days. K.M. was hospitalized and released two days later. Both girls were removed from the home. In August 2010, the children were returned to their parents under CFSD's Temporary Investigative Authority.

¶5 In March 2011, the children were adjudicated youths in need of care and the State was granted temporary legal custody of the children but they continued to reside in the family home. In May 2011, the District Court approved and ordered treatment plans for Mother and Father. Mother and Father thereafter separated. In August 2011, after CFSD received a corroborated report that Mother was using intravenous drugs, the children were again removed from Mother's care. In October 2011, Mother's Treatment Plan was extended to give her more time to complete the required goals and tasks, one of which was reunification with the children.

¶6 In April 2012, the State petitioned for permanent legal custody and termination of both parents' parental rights on the grounds that the parents had not successfully completed their treatment plans and were unlikely to do so within a reasonable time.

ΒΆ7 On July 13, 2012, the District Court conducted the first day of the termination hearing. Father relinquished his parental rights and consequently is not a party to this appeal. Following a full day of ...


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