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In re M.T.

Court of Appeals of Louisiana, First Circuit

September 27, 2019

IN THE INTEREST OF M.T.

          Appealed from the 17th Judicial District Court In and for the Parish of Lafourche Case No. J-12842 The Honorable Christopher J. Boudreaux, Judge Presiding

          Rebecca N. Robichaux Raceland, Louisiana Counsel for Appellant K.D., Mother

          Linda A. Mitchell Houma, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee Department of Children and Family Services

          Marcia Arceneaux Houma, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee M.T., Child

          Kristine Russell District Attorney Thibodaux, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee State of Louisiana

          Andrea Stentz Thibodaux, Louisiana Counsel for Appellee D.T., Father

          BEFORE: HIGGINBOTHAM, PENZATO, AND LANIER, JJ.

          LANIER, J.

         Appellant, K.D., seeks review of the trial court's judgment terminating her parental rights as to her minor child, M.T. K.D. argues on appeal that the State of Louisiana, Department of Children and Family Services ("State") failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that there were grounds for termination and that termination was in the child's best interest. For the reasons that follow, we affirm.

         According to the record, M.T., born July 31, 2014, originally entered the State's custody by Verbal Instanter Removal Order on April 6, 2017, for neglect/failure to thrive/lack of supervision. M.T. was subsequently adjudicated a child in need of care on August 2, 2017, and was continued in the State's custody. The State's case plan goal as presented at the adjudication hearing, i.e., reunification with a concurrent goal of adoption, was not accepted by the trial court. Rather, the trial court ordered the case plan goal be changed to adoption. A permanency hearing was held on April 3, 2018, at which time the trial court noted that K.D. had not completed her case plan and that adoption was in the best interest of M.T.

         The State filed a petition for termination of parental rights on June 20, 2018, seeking to terminate the rights of K.D. and M.T.'s father, D.T. The State sought termination based on La. Ch. Code art. 1015(4), (5), and (6), noting, in part, as follows:

6.
The misconduct of the parents toward this child constituted extreme abuse, cruel and inhuman treatment or grossly negligent behavior below a reasonable standard of human decency inasmuch as it was starvation and life threatening to ...

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