Submitted on Briefs: November 16, 2016
Court of the Ninth Judicial District, In and For the County
of Glacier, Cause No. DN-12-01 Honorable Daniel A. Boucher,
Appellant: Patrick Gilbert, Corinne Gilbert,
Self-Represented, Springfield, Oregon
Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, Katie F.
Schulz, Assistant Attorney General
Bradley Custer, Assistant Attorney General, Kalispell,
Carolyn Berkram, Glacier County Attorney, Cut Bank, Montana
Patricia Cotter, Justice
Intervenors Patrick and Corinne Gilbert appeal from a
placement hearing held in the Ninth Judicial District Court,
Glacier County, determining that the Department of Health and
Human Services's (Department) placement of B.W.S. with
the Watson family was in B.W.S.'s best interests. We
On appeal, the Gilberts raise nine issues. We restate the
dispositive issue as follows:
the District Court erred in determining that it was in
B.W.S.'s best interest to remain in her placement with
her current foster family?
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
Born in January 2012, B.W.S. was removed from the care of her
birth mother (Mother) on January 27, 2012, and placed in
protective custody by the Department of Public Health and
Human Services, Child and Family Services Division.
Subsequently, B.W.S. was adjudicated a youth in need of care
and temporary legal custody was granted to the Department.
B.W.S. was placed with Jared and Cindy Watson on February 13,
2012, and has remained in that placement since that time. In
June of 2013, the Department determined B.W.S. should remain
in the care of the Watsons instead of being moved to reside
with the Gilberts in Oregon. The Gilberts currently have
custody of two of B.W.S.'s biological half-siblings.
Citing their belief that B.W.S. should be with her
half-siblings, the Gilberts intervened in the case in August
2013, contesting B.W.S.'s placement with the Watsons.
In November 2013, in a separate action, Mother appealed the
District Court's termination of her parental rights and
this Court reversed, see In re B.W.S., 2014 MT 198,
376 Mont. 43, 330 P.3d 467, determining that the district
court judge should have recused himself. In re
B.W.S., ¶ 19. On remand, the District Court set a
hearing for January 2015 to determine whether to terminate
Mother's parental rights. Following a hearing, the
District Court terminated Mother's and any and all