FROM THE SIXTEENTH JUDICIAL DISTRICT COURT PARISH OF ST.
MARTIN, NO. 17-JV-18661 HONORABLE LEWIS H. PITMAN, JR.,
Marie Johnson Public Defender's Office COUNSEL FOR
APPELLANT: L. B. (father) K. S. (mother)
Shentell Brown Assistant District Attorney COUNSEL FOR
APPELLEE: State of Louisiana
Henderson Mental Health Advocates COUNSEL FOR APPELLEE: L. S.
composed of Marc T. Amy, D. Kent Savoie, and Van H. Kyzar,
appellants, K.S. and L.B.,  appeal from a judgment
adjudicating their minor child, L.S., as being a child in
need of care and ordering family services. On considering the
record before us, we affirm the judgment of the trial court.
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
appellants, K.S. and L.B., are the mother and father,
respectively, of the minor child, L.S., born October 6, 2016.
Immediately following the birth of the child, the State of
Louisiana, Office of Juvenile Justice, Department of Children
and Family Services ("DCFS"), was notified the
child was born positive for the presence of amphetamines in
its system and that the mother had also tested positive for
the same drug at the time of the birth. An investigator was
assigned the case and immediately went to the hospital to
commence an investigation into allegations of abuse or
neglect. On January 31, 2017, a child in need of care
petition was filed alleging as follows:
[L.S.] is a victim of Parental Neglect for being
a drug exposed newborn when she was born on October 7, 2016
[sic]. The infant's meconium was positive for
amphetamines and the mother's urine was positive for
amphetamines, benzos and cocaine. [K.S.] admitted to using
drugs throughout her pregnancy and could not provide
prescriptions for the amphetamines. This is Ms. [K.S.']
second drug exposed newborn.
All reasonable, available and appropriate attempts and
efforts have been made to encourage and assist this family to
deal with the allegations set forth herein and to provide all
available services but to no avail and said attempts have
been exhausted. Ms. [K.S.] admits to being overwhelmed with
the issues in her life. However, she does not feel she needs
any of the recommended services such as Early Steps and
adjudication hearing was held on April 3, 2017. At the
conclusion of the hearing, the trial court found the child to
be a child in need of care and ordered family services. As
part of the judgment, DCFS was ordered to look into the
possibility of providing or finding financial assistance for
the parents to offset the rehabilitative treatment services
for the mother at an inpatient substance abuse rehabilitation
facility. A review hearing was further set for October 19,
2017. This appeal was thereafter taken by the parents, K.S.
appellants assert one assignment of error on appeal, as
Whether the trial court erred in granting judgment in favor
of the State of Louisiana adjudicating the minor child, L.S.,
a child in need of care?
State In Interest of S.C, 16-740, p. 2 (La.App. 3
Cir. 4/19/17), 217 So.3d 642, 644, the standard of appellate
review applicable in child in need of care cases was
recognized as follows:
"We review the juvenile court's findings of fact
under the manifest error standard of review[.]"
State ex rel. J.Y.M., 09-1335, p. 5 (La.App. 3 Cir.
8/4/10), 45 So.3d 1128, 1132. In State ex rel. D.H.,
04-2105, pp. 7-8 (La.App. 1 Cir. 2/11/05), 906 So.2d 554,
560, the first circuit noted:
[I]t is important that the appellate court not substitute its
own opinion when it is the juvenile court that is in the
unique position to see and hear the witnesses as they
testify. [In re A.J.F., 00-948 (La. 6/30/00), 764
So.2d 47.] Where there is conflicting testimony, reasonable
evaluations of credibility and reasonable inferences of fact
should not be disturbed upon review, even when the appellate
court may feel that its own evaluations and inferences are as
reasonable as those of the juvenile court. Id; see Rosell
v. ESCO, 549 So.2d 840 (La. 1989). If the juvenile
court's findings are reasonable in light of the record
reviewed in its entirety, the appellate court may not
reverse, even though convinced that had it been sitting as
the trier of fact, it would have weighed the evidence
differently. Id; see Pinsonneault v. Merchants &
Farmers Bank & Trust Co., 2001-2217 (La. 4/3/02),
In order to reverse a fact finder's determination of
fact, an appellate court must review the record in its
entirety and (1) find that a reasonable factual basis does
not exist for the finding, and if such a basis does exist,
(2) further determine that the record establishes that the
fact finder is clearly wrong or manifestly erroneous. See
Stobart v. State, through DOTD, 617 So.2d 880 (La.
1993). If there are two permissible views of the evidence,
the fact finder's choice between them cannot be
manifestly erroneous or clearly wrong. Id.
in the instant case, we are tasked with determining whether
the trial court committed manifest error in finding the minor
L.S. to be a child in need of care based upon the evidence
presented at the adjudication hearing on April 3, 2017. The
grounds for finding ...