Appealed from the Fourth Judicial District Court for the
Parish of Ouachita, Louisiana, Trial Court No. 21,710,
Honorable Sharon I. Marchman, Judge.
FREDERICK D. JONES, Counsel for Appellant, J.M.E.,
L. SANDERS, II, Assistant District Attorney, Counsel for
Appellee, State of Louisiana.
COURTNEY W. FRANKLIN, Counsel for Appellee, State of
ACADIANA LEGAL SERVICES CORPORATION, By: Helen M. Marrs
Counsel for Appellee, R.W.H.V., Child.
M. ADAMS, Counsel for Appellee, C.H., Father.
VARHONDA E. BURRELL, Counsel for Appellee, P.V., Mother.
WILLIAMS, PITMAN, and McCALLUM, JJ.
La.App. 2 Cir. 2] In this child in need of care
("CINC") proceeding, the grandmother appeals a
trial court judgment that changed the permanent case plan
goal for the minor child from reunification to adoption.
2016, the Louisiana Department of Children and Family
Services ("DCFS") received a report of emotional
maltreatment of R.W.H.V., then five years old, and his
sister, T.V., by their maternal grandmother, J.M.E. The
children shared a home with J.M.E., their mother, P.V., and
their great-grandmother, B.E. As of that date, R.W.H.V. had
been hospitalized at Brentwood Hospital, a psychiatric
facility, four times in the past two months. The medical
professionals had concerns of emotional abuse and dysfunction
in the family.
Doctors noted that R.W.H.V. was not being allowed to be a
child, and that J.M.E.s complaints about his behavior were
unfounded. It was also noted that J.M.E. used extreme and
inappropriate methods to discipline R.W.H.V. and his sister,
such as feeding R.W.H.V. horseradish, hot sauce, and vinegar
as a form of punishment. During one hospitalization, R.W.H.V.
was diagnosed with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder, and
oppositional defiant disorder ("ODD") based upon
his behavior as reported by grandmother, and he was
prescribed strong psychotropic medications typically given
only to adults.
family was referred to the Family Services Unit of DCFS in
September 2016 to work toward resolution of the familys
problems, which seemed to center around grandmother. Other
in-home service providers also assisted, providing
grandmother with therapy and instruction on coping skills and
parenting practices (specifically discipline and how to deal
with [53,065 La.App. 2');">065 La.App. 2 Cir. 3] tantrums and de-escalate her
own emotions first). These providers included the Family
Services Unit, Ekayah Youth Services, Wraparound of Northeast
Louisiana, People United, and the Family Resource Center. The
providers reported that grandmother struggled to handle the
childrens behavior, often calling the instructors to request
assistance, and she had trouble applying the recommendations
of the providers plans designed to help her manage
R.W.H.V.s behavior. The providers reported that J.M.E.
consistently over-corrected R.W.H.V. for age-appropriate
December 2016, J.M.E. called R.W.H.V.s then-treating
psychiatrist, claiming that the child was hitting and kicking
other family members and slamming his head into the wall. She
related that she was unable to calm R.W.H.V. and was advised
to give him anti-psychotic medication. J.M.E. took R.W.H.V.
to the emergency room four separate times due to his
behavior. On May 10, 2017, after J.M.E. claimed that R.W.H.V.
was having emotional/behavioral issues, he was again admitted
to Brentwood Hospital and ...