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In re B.J.T.H.

Supreme Court of Montana

December 10, 2013

IN THE MATTER OF: B.J.T.H., and B.H.T.H., Youths in Need of Care.

Submitted on Briefs: November 13, 2013

APPEAL FROM: District Court of the Third Judicial District, In and For the County of Anaconda-Deer Lodge, Cause No. DN 11-03; DN 11-04 Honorable Ray Dayton, Presiding Judge

For Appellant: Jeanne Miller Walker, Hagen & Walker, PLLC; Billings, Montana

For Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General; Tammy K Plubell, Assistant Attorney General; Helena, Montana

Ben Krakowka, Deer Lodge County Attorney; Anaconda, Montana

OPINION

Patricia O. Cotter, Justice

¶1 S.H.V.H. (Mother) appeals from an order of the Third Judicial District Court, Deer Lodge County, terminating her parental rights. We affirm in part and remand in part.

ISSUES

¶2 We restate the issues on appeal as follows:

¶3 1. Did the District Court err in denying Mother's request to fire her court-appointed counsel?

¶4 2. Did the District Court err in accepting Mother's relinquishment?

¶5 3. Did the District Court err in denying Mother's motion to modify the treatment plan and stay the termination hearing?

FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND

ΒΆ6 Mother and R.F. (Father) are the parents of B.H.T.H. and B.J.T.H., twins born in July 2009. The Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services (DPHHS) removed B.H.T.H. and B.J.T.H. from Mother's home in Anaconda on January 28, 2011, after receiving a referral regarding an ongoing situation at Mother's house. In an affidavit requesting emergency protective services and temporary legal custody, the DPHHS Child Protection Specialist identified several grounds for B.H.T.H. and B.J.T.H.'s removal, including: Mother's erratic behavior on January 28, 2011, leading to her incarceration and arrest for misdemeanor assault; Mother's use of inappropriate caregivers; Mother's rejection of the family support that had been offered; and disarray and unsafe ...


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