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K.B. v. Limestone County Department of Human Resources

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

June 19, 2015

K.B., Sr.
v.
Limestone County Department of Human Resources

         Released for Publication April 28, 2016

          Appeal from Limestone Juvenile Court. (JU-02-230.02). Jeanne W. Anderson, Trial Judge.

         For Appellant: Douglas L. Patterson, Athens.

         For Appellee: Sharon E. Ficquette, Chief legal counsel, and Karen P. Phillips, Asst. Atty. Gen., Department of Human Resources.

         MOORE, Judge. Thompson, P.J., and Pittman, Thomas, and Donaldson, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

Page 730

          MOORE, Judge.

         K.B., Sr. (" the father" ), appeals from a judgment finding K.B., Jr. (" the child" ), dependent and awarding temporary legal and physical custody of the child to the child's paternal grandparents. We affirm the judgment.

         Background

         The background pertinent to this appeal is as follows.[1] The Limestone County Department

Page 731

of Human Resources (" DHR" ) filed a dependency petition on February 25, 2014, alleging that the father had physically abused the child and that the child had run away from home to escape further abuse. The Limestone Juvenile Court (" the juvenile court" ) conducted a shelter-care hearing on that same date, finding that, due to a substantial threat of harm to the child, the child should not be returned to the father's home but should be placed into the temporary legal and physical custody of the paternal grandparents. The juvenile court further scheduled a dependency hearing to take place on March 21, 2014.

         Although the juvenile court had appointed a guardian ad litem for the child on February 25, 2014, the guardian ad litem informed the juvenile court on March 21, 2014, the date scheduled for the dependency hearing, that she had not had an opportunity to meet with the child. The guardian ad litem and DHR orally moved for a continuance, which the juvenile court granted, over the objection of the father, rescheduling the dependency hearing to April 25, 2014. On the morning of April 25, 2014, DHR filed a " First Amended Petition," reasserting its original allegations against the father and adding that, other than submitting to a psychological evaluation, the father had refused to cooperate with DHR's family-reunification efforts by declining to attend anger-management counseling or other counseling and by canceling the health insurance covering the child. DHR orally moved the juvenile court to accept the amended petition, which motion the juvenile court granted over the objection of the father. The juvenile court granted the father a continuance in order to give him time to evaluate and defend the new allegations raised in the amended petition. The juvenile court rescheduled the dependency hearing to take place on May 23, 2014.

         On May 23, 2014, DHR and the guardian ad litem moved for a continuance, which motion was granted over the objection of the father. The juvenile court rescheduled the dependency hearing to take place on June 27, 2014. On June 18, 2014, the guardian ad litem moved for a continuance on the ground that she would be unable to attend the June 27, 2014, dependency hearing because she was going to be out of town attending her child's freshman orientation for college. The juvenile court granted the motion, rescheduling the dependency hearing to take place on July 25, 2014. On July 22, 2014, DHR moved for a continuance on the ground that the caseworker assigned to the case would be unable to attend the hearing on July 25, 2014, because he was scheduled to be out of the country ...


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