Mobile County Department of Human Resources
Appeals from Mobile Juvenile Court (JU-13-469.04 and
("the mother) separately appeals from two judgments of
the Mobile Juvenile Court ("the juvenile court")
terminating her parental rights to S.L.G. and C.I.G.
("the children"), respectively. We reverse the
judgments and remand the causes with instructions to the
and Procedural History
children are twins and were born to the mother in September
2012. On December 5, 2017, the Mobile County Department of
Human Resources ("DHR") filed separate petitions in
the juvenile court seeking judgments terminating the parental
rights of the mother and C.L.O. ("the father") to
the children. In the petitions, DHR alleged, among other
things, that the father's location was unknown; that the
children were dependent and had been in the custody of DHR
since October 2016; that the parents had abandoned and
neglected the children; that the mother has "untreated
mental health issues that prevent [her] from providing
adequate care for the child[ren]"; and that efforts by
DHR to rehabilitate the mother had been unsuccessful.
Separate counsel were appointed to represent the mother and
the father. The father was served by publication.
was held in the juvenile court on March 22, 2018, and April
3, 2018. The father was represented by counsel but did not
attend the trial. Testimony was presented from a
psychologist, a mental-health and substance-abuse therapist,
DHR caseworkers, and the mother.
19, 2018, judgments rendered by the juvenile court on July 6,
2018, were entered in each case. The judgments were
substantially identical except for specific references to
each child, and provided, in part:
"6. The Court finds that the mother has failed to modify
her circumstances to meet the needs of the children since the
finding of dependency. The Court finds that the mother has
recently made improvements in her circumstances, but that by
failing to participate in any meaningful manner starting in
July of 2017, she has[, as] of this time[, ] failed to put
herself in a position where she can care for the child[ren].
From the psychological evidence that was presented, the Court
finds it unlikely that the mother will be able to follow
through, in high stress situations, to deal with the
"7. There is no known relative willing or able to take
the care, custody, and control of the child[ren].
"8. Termination of parental rights is in the best
interest of the child[ren] to promote permanency.
"9. [DHR] made all reasonable efforts to finalize the
plan of adoption after the same was accepted by the court.
"10. The Court finds [DHR] made all reasonable efforts
to promote reunification but that said efforts failed in
large part due to the failure of the mother to consistently
follow the recommendations and accept the services offered.
"12. From the foregoing, the [juvenile] Court concludes
that termination of parental rights is in the best interest
of the child[ren;] however[, ] given the mother's recent
efforts[, ] the Court finds that[, ] if [DHR] is unable to
find an adoptive resource, ... the issue of the termination
of the mother's parental rights should be revisited.
"Wherefore, it is ORDERED, ADJUDGED, and DECREED by the
Court that any and all rights in and to [the children] of
[the mother and father] be and hereby are ORDERED terminated
and the permanent care, custody, and control of [the
children] is hereby awarded to [DHR] which ...