Submitted on Briefs: September 27, 2017
FROM: District Court of the Twentieth Judicial District, In
and For the County of Lake, Cause No. DN 15-15 Honorable
Deborah Kim Christopher, Presiding Judge.
Appellant: Katy Stack, Attorney at Law, Missoula, Montana.
Appellee: Timothy C. Fox, Montana Attorney General, C. Mark
Fowler, Assistant Attorney General, Helena, Montana, Stephen
Eschenbacher, Lake County Attorney, Benjamin Ancieaux, Deputy
County Attorney, Polson, Montana.
J.C. (Mother) appeals an order of the Twentieth Judicial
District Court, Lake County, terminating her parental rights
to her minor child, M.C. Mother raises three issues, however
only one issue is properly before this Court for review. We
affirm and address the following issue:
the District Court properly admit Mother's psychological
evaluation at the termination hearing?
AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND
In March 2015, the Department of Public Health and Human
Services (the Department), filed a Petition for Emergency
Protective Services (EPS), Adjudication of Child as Youth in
Need of Care, and Temporary Legal Custody (TLC). The District
Court granted EPS and Mother subsequently stipulated to TLC.
The Department prepared a treatment plan for Mother, which
she signed and the District Court approved and ordered on May
As part of her treatment plan, Mother agreed to undergo a
Psychological Evaluation. To identify all of
Mother's mental health issues and narrowly tailor future
treatment, Mother will submit to a psychological evaluation
with a professional approved by CPS. Mother will follow
recommendations made by the professional, including any
recommendations that may lead to a higher level of care,
including in-patient or out-patient mental health treatment
and/or anger management classes.
(Emphasis in original). The treatment plan specifically
stated the psychological evaluation's two purposes: (1)
to identify Mother's mental health issues; and (2) to
narrowly tailor future treatment. Mother agreed to follow the
evaluation's recommendations in working towards
reunification with M.C. when she signed the treatment plan.
Dr. Theresa Reed (Dr. Reed), a Licensed Clinical
Psychologist, performed Mother's psychological evaluation
on September 3, 2015. The evaluation consisted of various
sections, including background information, family and
personal health history, legal history, mental status
examination, test results, and conclusions and
The Department and Mother worked together for over a year to
reunify M.C. with Mother. The reunification efforts were
unsuccessful, however, and in November 2016, the Department
filed a petition to terminate Mother's parental rights.
The District Court held a termination hearing in January
2017, at which time the court issued oral ...