Appeal from the Juvenile Court. In and for the Parish of East
Baton Rouge, State of Louisiana. No. 11,708, Division B. The
Honorable Pamela Taylor Johnson, Judge Presiding.
G. Slocum, Bureau of General Counsel Department of Children
and Family Services State of Louisiana, Baton Rouge,
Louisiana, Attorney for Appellant, State of Louisiana,
Department of Children and Family Services.
L. Lacy, Mental Health Advocacy Service/ Child Advocacy
Program, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Attorney for Appellee,
J.J.S. (Minor Child).
Thomas, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Attorney for Appellee, J.S.
Harrison, Baton Rouge, Louisiana, Curator for Appellee, B.V.
GUIDRY, PETTIGREW, WELCH, THERIOT, AND DRAKE, JJ. GUIDRY, J.,
dissents and assigns reasons.
1574 La.App. 1 Cir. 2] DRAKE, J.
State of Louisiana, Department of Children and Family
Services (DCFS), appeals the judgment of the juvenile
court, which dismissed the DCFS's
petition to terminate the parental rights of the father
(J.S.) as to a minor child adjudicated in need of care
(J.J.S.). For the reasons that follow, we
reverse the judgment of the juvenile court.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
the father of J.J.S., a son who was bom on August 8, 2008. On
August 12, 2008, DCFS learned that J.J.S. was bom
prematurely and tested positive for amphetamines and
marijuana. On October 29, 2008, the juvenile court granted an
oral instanter order directing DCFS to take J.J.S. into its
immediate custody based on allegations of neglect and
dependency. A verified complaint that contained the
information that was previously orally relayed to the court
for the issuance of the oral instanter order was filed with
the court the same day. J.S. was considered a non-offending
parent in those proceedings. DCFS had a previous working
the minor child's mother, B.V. In August 2007, DCFS
opened a family services case whereby the agency paid
numerous bills for the family, including rent, water, and
November 6, 2008, a custody hearing was held, after which
custody of J.J.S. was returned to his mother, B.V., with
three months of protective supervision by DCFS. J.S. was
present at the hearing, agreed with the transfer of custody
to [2014 1574 La.App. 1 Cir. 3] B.V., and agreed to provide
some financial assistance. DCFS continued to supervise the
case. The protective supervision period was extended through
July 30, 2009, subject to B.V. enrolling in a substance abuse
treatment facility program. The court also recommended that
DCFS provide J.S. substance abuse counseling. At the July 30,
2009 hearing, the juvenile court reinstated the October 29,
2008 verified complaint and placed J.J.S. back in the custody
pursuant to the stipulation of B.V. and based on evidence
contained in the verified complaint, the juvenile court
ordered the assistant district attorney (ADA) assigned to the
case to file a petition to initiate proceedings to adjudicate
J.J.S. as a child in need of care. At an appearance hearing,
J.S. and B.V. both denied the allegations of the petition,
and the matter was set for an adjudication hearing. At the
adjudication hearing held on October 19, 2009, B.V.
stipulated that J.J.S. be adjudicated a child in need of
care, and the juvenile court rendered judgment adjudicating
J.J.S. as a child in need of care as it related to B.V. The
adjudication in relation to J.S. was continued until December
10, 2009, at which time the assigned ADA sought leave to
amend the child in need of care petition. Over the objection
of J.S., the juvenile court granted the ADA's motion to
amend the original petition to add specific factual
allegations of neglect committed by J.S. The matter was then
set for an appearance and an adjudication hearing relative to
J.S. At the appearance hearing, J.S. again denied the
allegations of the petition.
adjudication hearing on January 12, 2010, the parties entered
into an Informal Adjustment Agreement (IAA). The IAA provided
as follows: (1) J.S. was to comply with the December 28, 2009
case plan; (2) J.S. would cooperate and comply with DCFS in
allowing sibling visits; (3) DCFS would provide daycare
services for three months; (4) J.S. would continue to work
with Capital Area for substance abuse treatment and the
Infant Child & Family Center; (5) J.S. would [2014 1574
La.App. 1 Cir. 4] submit to random drug screens; (6) DCFS
would assist J.S. in obtaining childcare assistance through
the Office of Family Support; (7) CASA would provide
supervision for the duration of the IAA; and (8) DCFS would
continue to provide protective supervision for the duration
of the IAA. The IAA w as effective for six months. That same
day, custody of JJ.S. was transferred to J.S. A hearing to
review compliance with the IAA was held on April 22, 2010.
The trial court extended the IAA for another six months and
ordered J.S. to submit to a drug screen every other week.
was not successfully completed by J.S. On March 10, 2011, the
court terminated the IAA and returned J.J.S. to the custody
of DCFS over the department's objection. Although J.J.S.
was returned to DCFS custody, he remained placed in the home
of J.S. From March 10-23, 2011, however, the whereabouts of
J.S. and J.J.S. were unknown. A meeting between DCFS and J.S.
was scheduled for March 18, but J.S. did not attend. Once
J.J.S. was located, he was placed ...