IDHW v. Doe

IN THE COURT OF APPEALS OF THE STATE OF IDAHO Docket No. 48226 In the Interest of: Jane Doe I, A Child ) Under Eighteen (18) Years of Age. ) ) STATE OF IDAHO, DEPARTMENT OF ) HEALTH AND WELFARE, ) Filed: October 16, 2020 ) Petitioner-Respondent, ) Melanie Gagnepain, Clerk ) v. ) THIS IS AN UNPUBLISHED ) OPINION AND SHALL NOT JANE DOE (2020-31), ) BE CITED AS AUTHORITY ) Respondent-Appellant. ) ) Appeal from the Magistrate Division of the District Court of the Sixth Judicial District, State of Idaho, Bannock County. Hon. Bryan K. Murray, Magistrate. Judgment terminating parental rights, affirmed. David Martinez, Bannock County Public Defender; Scott A. Pearson, Deputy Public Defender, Pocatello, for appellant. Hon. Lawrence G. Wasden, Attorney General; Madison N. Miles, Deputy Attorney General, Pocatello, for respondent. ________________________________________________ LORELLO, Judge Jane Doe (2020-31) appeals from the judgment terminating her parental rights, contending there was insufficient evidence of neglect. We affirm. 1 I. FACTUAL AND PROCEDURAL BACKGROUND Jane Doe is the mother1 of the minor child in this action, who was born in 2008. The Idaho Department of Health and Welfare received a referral concerning Doe’s mental fitness and the cleanliness of her home. The Department conducted a safety assessment of Doe’s home, finding the floor covered with discarded food packaging and a broken lamp. After Doe claimed to have been in direct contact with the President of the United States and admitted spending money she anticipated receiving from the President for reporting undocumented immigrants, the safety assessor became concerned with Doe’s mental health and financial stability. The safety assessor informed Doe that he would return in a week or two and that, in the meantime, Doe needed to keep a pre-existing appointment with a mental health specialist for a psychological evaluation. When the safety assessor returned, the home remained unsanitary and Doe had cancelled the psychological evaluation. Soon thereafter, Doe was hospitalized pursuant to an involuntary commitment due to her deteriorating mental health, and custody of the child was transferred to the Department. Doe remained hospitalized for the next six months. During that time, two of Doe’s siblings obtained a guardianship over Doe, which remained in place through the conclusion of the termination proceeding. After Doe’s release from the hospital, the magistrate court approved a case plan for her and conducted several review hearings while the child was in the Department’s custody. Ultimately, the Department petitioned to terminate Doe’s parental rights. The magistrate court terminated Doe’s parental rights after finding clear and convincing evidence that she had neglected the child and that termination is in the child’s best interests. Doe appeals. II. STANDARD OF REVIEW On appeal from a decision terminating parental rights, this Court examines whether the decision is supported by substantial and competent evidence, which means such evidence as a reasonable mind might accept as adequate to support a conclusion. Doe v. Doe, 148 Idaho 243, 1 Doe is not the child’s biological mother. During the termination hearing, Doe testified that ...

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