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T.W. v. Shelby County Department of Human Resources

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

May 3, 2019

T.W.
v.
SHELBY COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN RESOURCES T.W.
v.
Shelby County Department of Human Resources C.L.B.
v.
Shelby County Department of Human Resources.

         Certiorari Denied July 3, 2019.

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[Copyrighted Material Omitted]

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         Appeal from Shelby Juvenile Court (JU-16-475.05), (JU-15-528.09), (JU-15-528.09).

         James V. Green, Jr., Alabaster, for appellant T.W.

          Erin B. Welborn and Jarred C. Welborn, Columbiana, for appellant C.L.B.

Page 389

         Steve Marshall, atty. gen., and Elizabeth L. Hendrix, asst. atty. gen., Department of Human Resources, for appellee.

         MOORE, Judge.

         In appeal number 2180005, T.W. ("the mother") appeals from a judgment entered by the Shelby Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court"), in case number JU-16-475.05, terminating her parental rights to L.G.P., whose date of birth is June 8, 2016. In appeal number 2180006, the mother appeals from that same judgment to the extent it was entered in case number JU-15-528.09 and terminated her parental rights to B.E.B., whose date of birth is September 8, 2013; in appeal number 2180030, C.L.B., the father of B.E.B., appeals from that same judgment to the extent it was entered in case number JU-15-528.09 and terminated his parental rights to B.E.B.

         Both the mother and C.L.B. argue that, considering their current circumstances, the juvenile court erred in terminating their parental rights; they also argue that the juvenile court erred in determining that there were no viable alternatives, specifically relative placements, to the termination of their parental rights. C.L.B. also asserts that the juvenile court failed to comply with the Indian Child Welfare Act of 1978 ("the ICWA"), codified at 25 U.S.C. § 1901 et seq. We affirm the juvenile court's judgment.

         Procedural History

         On March 20, 2018, the Shelby County Department of Human Resources ("DHR") filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of the mother and J.P. to L.G.P.; that petition was assigned case number JU-16-475.05. That same day, DHR filed a separate petition to terminate the parental rights of the mother and C.L.B. to B.E.B.; that petition was assigned case number JU-15-528.09.

         After a trial, the juvenile court, on August 30, 2018, rendered and entered a single judgment in case number JU-15-528.09 and case number JU-16-475.05, terminating the parental rights of the mother and C.L.B. to B.E.B. and of the mother and J.P. to L.G.P.[1] On September 12, 2018, the mother filed a single postjudgment motion referencing both case numbers; that motion was denied the same day. On September 13, 2018, C.L.B. filed a postjudgment motion in case number JU-15-528.09; that motion was denied on September 18, 2018.

         On September 25, 2018, the mother filed separate notices of appeal. C.L.B. filed his notice of appeal on October 2, 2018.[2]

         Facts

         I. Background

         The mother testified that DHR had removed B.E.B. from her custody in 2015. According to the mother, she had been using methamphetamine and marijuana daily at that time. The mother testified that she had subsequently received counseling services and in-home parenting services and that she had also attended parenting classes. The mother testified that she had ceased using drugs for a period beginning in February 2016. L.G.P. was born on June 8, 2016. According to the mother, B.E.B. was placed back in her home in October 2016. The mother testified that she had relapsed into drug use in December 2016.

Page 390

          The mother testified that, in February 2017, DHR removed B.E.B. and L.G.P. from her home after she failed a drug test, which had been administered by her probation officer, testing positive for methamphetamine, "benzos," and marijuana. She testified that she had been arrested for possession of drugs in March 2017. She testified that, after her arrest, she had been admitted to an inpatient drug-rehabilitation program at Olivia's House in April 2017 but that she had been discharged from that program for fighting with other patients. According to the mother, after her discharge from Olivia's House, she had completed an outpatient drug-rehabilitation program at "Bradford" in June or July 2017.

         The mother testified, however, that, in March 2018, she had again been arrested for possession of methamphetamine. The mother admitted to having used methamphetamine at that time. Abigail Athey, a DHR caseworker, testified that the mother had admitted herself into Bradford's inpatient drug-rehabilitation program in April 2018. The mother testified that she had stayed in that program for two weeks. According to Athey, the mother had left that program voluntarily to go to the beach with her boyfriend.

         The mother testified that she had last used methamphetamine in March 2018; she admitted, however, that, although she was under an order from the juvenile court to submit to drug testing, she had not submitted to drug testing in the two months leading up to the termination-of-parental-rights trial. At the time of the trial, the mother had two charges pending against her for possession of drugs and was incarcerated for failing to appear for court hearings.

         C.L.B. testified that, at the time of the termination-of-parental-rights trial, he was incarcerated, having been convicted of rape in the first degree. He ...


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