Court finds state lacked evidence to sever mother's rights
Nov. 21, 2017
PHOENIX (AP) — The Arizona Court of Appeals has reversed a decision that severed a woman's parental rights to her two children, ruling the state lacked evidence to support the action.
The panel of three judges sent the case back down to the juvenile court last week after finding faults in how the state Department of Child Safety constructed the case, The Arizona Republic reported .
The ruling detailed how the case manager failed to fulfill some of the basic requirements of the case, and it questioned the results of the mother's psychological evaluation that the state used to support its case.
Agency spokesman Darren DaRonco said they are examining the case before making the next move.
"We will conduct a careful review of the facts of this case before deciding how to proceed, as we do in each case when considering what permanency plan is most appropriate," DaRonco said.
The newspaper's attempts to contact the attorney representing the mother were unsuccessful. The mother was not identified by her full name in court documents.
From the documents, it is unknown when the mother's rights were severed, where the children were placed and where they were sent after the court ruling.
More than two years ago, the agency was contacted by hospital officials who reported possible abuse as a child had fractured bones and multiple bruises. The agency intervened and in early 2016, it pursued a plan to sever parental rights and put the children up for adoption.
The mother did not provide testimony, so the juvenile court relied on a psychological evaluation on the woman. The psychologist's report concluded the mother's chances of being a good parent were "poor at best."
In the ruling, the appeals court found the evaluation to be lacking substantial information, like the track record of supervised visits the woman had with her children and the other agency stipulations the mother fulfilled.
The 15-page ruling noted the case manager's faults, which included not meeting with the mother outside of court hearings, not checking out suspicious and not checking the safety of the mother's home.
Information from: The Arizona Republic, http://www.azcentral.com