STATE OF LOUISIANA IN THE INTEREST OF G. H.
APPEAL FROM THE JEFFERSON PARISH JUVENILE COURT PARISH OF
JEFFERSON, STATE OF LOUISIANA NO. 16-CC-62, DIVISION
"C" HONORABLE BARRON C. BURMASTER, JUDGE PRESIDING
COUNSEL FOR PLAINTIFF/APPELLEE, STATE OF LOUISIANA,
DEPARTMENT OF CHILDREN AND FAMILY SERVICES Elizabeth G.
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLEE, C.V., GRANDMOTHER Kristine K.
Sims Frances M. Olivier
COUNSEL FOR DEFENDANT/APPELLANT, F. M. M. AND E. D., FORMER
FOSTER PARENTS John B. Donnes, III Lawrence L. Lagarde, Jr.
composed of Judges Jude G. Gravois, Stephen J. Windhorst, and
Hans J. Liljeberg
STEPHEN J. WINDHORST JUDGE
former foster parents of G.H., F.M. and E.D.
("appellants"), appeal the juvenile court's May
22, 2018 denial of their "Motion to Intervene Due to
Major Change of Status and Circumstances" (the
"third motion to intervene") in the matter
entitled, State of Louisiana In The Interest Of
G.H., Case No. 16-CC-62. The paternal grandmother, C.V.
("appellee"), filed a motion to dismiss this
appeal. For the following reasons, we deny the motion to
dismiss and affirm the denial of appellants' third motion
AND PROCEDURAL HISTORY
was born on June 30, 2016 testing positive for methadone and
opiates in his meconium and experiencing withdrawal symptoms.
Appellants became G.H.'s foster parents on July 25, 2016.
On July 26, 2016, G.H. was placed in the temporary custody of
the Department of Children & Family Services
("DCFS"). On August 15, 2016, DCFS filed a
"Child In Need of Care Petition," seeking to have
G.H. adjudicated as a child in need of care. On September 20,
2016, G.H.'s parents, through their attorneys, stipulated
that G.H. is in need of care without admitting the
allegations of the petition. On July 25, 2017, the court
approved a DCFS recommended plan of adoption for G.H.
October 4, 2017, the paternal biological grandmother filed a
motion to intervene and requested custody of G.H. At an
October 24, 2017 hearing, the court granted the
grandmother's motion to intervene and authorized her to
have visitation with G.H.
February 14, 2018, appellants filed their first motion to
intervene in G.H.'s case as his foster parents
who intend to adopt him. On February 22, 2018, appellee filed
an exception and opposition to appellants' motion to
intervene. On February 27, 2018, the juvenile court granted
C.V.'s Exception and gave appellants time to cure the
defects in their pleadings.
March 6, 2018, appellants amended their first motion to
intervene, and on April 10, 2018, the juvenile court denied
it. Appellants did not appeal or seek supervisory review of
April 23, 2018, appellants filed their second motion to
intervene,  asserting that it was in G.H.'s best
interest to allow their intervention as they have
consistently provided love and care for G.H. for all his
life, and that there has been no "substantial parental
compliance" with or any "reasonable expectation of
significant improvement" with the parents' case
plan. Appellants also alleged that some of the paternal
grandmother's behavior demonstrated a lack of appropriate
parental discretion and discipline.
May 1, 2018 hearing, the court considered multiple issues,
including appellants' second motion to intervene. It also
DCFS's plan sought to change G.H.'s placement to the
grandmother. On May 1, 2018, the court denied appellants'
second motion to intervene, and found that a change in
placement was in G.H.'s best interests and changed
G.H.'s placement from foster care at appellants' home
to his paternal grandmother's home, with the stipulation
that the foster parents have continued visitation with G.H.
Therefore, as of May 1, 2018, appellants were no longer
G.H.'s foster parents. Although they verbally gave notice
of intent to file a writ application and/or appeal,
appellants did not seek any appellate review of the May 1,
2018 ruling. While the minute entry/judgments show that
appellants were present in court when the juvenile court
denied their request for intervention on May 1, 2018, the
first mailed notice of that judgment was dated May 15, 2018.
17, 2018 Court Appointed Special Advocates report indicates
that G.H. was living with his paternal grandmother, her
husband and his three brothers at this time. According to the
report, the grandmother had reported that G.H. was doing well
with the transition from living with his foster parents to
living with her, and that he enjoyed being around his
brothers. This report also states that he is playful and
affectionate with his brothers.
15, 2018, G.H.'s biological mother and father filed a
motion for permission of court to execute a surrender for
adoption to C.V. wife of/and M.V. A hearing was set for May
22, 2018 for the DCFS to show cause why G.H.'s biological
parents should not be given permission to execute a surrender
directly to C.V. and M.V., the paternal
21, 2018, appellants filed their third motion to
intervene in G.H.'s placement proceedings. In
this pleading, appellants acknowledged that because they were
no longer G.H.'s foster parents, they lacked the rights
accorded them under La. Ch.C. art. 695. Appellants, however,
asserted that they had the right to intervene as interested
persons under La. Ch.C. art. 697, which allows any interested
person to intervene in the case review procedure to
facilitate the permanent placement of the child and to ensure
that the best interests of the child are protected.
Appellants also contended that there had been a disregard for
their requests for their previously court-ordered meaningful
22, 2018, the juvenile court denied appellants' third
attempt to intervene, revoked DCFS's custody of G.H., and
granted custody to G.H.'s paternal grandmother. This
change of custody was clearly with the ongoing agreement of
DCFS, which had previously on May 1, 2018 obtained the
juvenile court's approval to place the child with the
grandmother, and which waived a contradictory hearing with
regard to the change in custody from itself (DCFS) to the
grandmother. The court allowed appellants to state their
reasons in support of their motion to intervene on the
record. Appellants asserted that they were entitled to
intervene because they were interested parties and there were
problems with their court-ordered visitation. In denying
appellants' intervention, the court reasoned that it was
not in the child's best interest and that there was no
good cause to allow the intervention because it would slow
down the permanency plan in this case.
of mailing of the May 22, 2018 judgment to the parties is
dated May 25, 2018. On June 4, 2018, ...