Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Second DCA Reverses Dependency Finding

The Second District Court of Appeal ruled today in S.T. v. Department of Children & Family Services, a case in which the finding of dependency as to the father was upheld without opinion in December of last year, and in which the Court now reviewed the finding that the parties’ children were dependent as to their mother.  The lower tribunal had made this finding primarily on the basis that the mother was in denial as to the father’s drinking and resulting endangerment of the children.  The Second District, however, found that there was no competent evidence to reflect that the Mother had knowledge of any such endangerment, and that her motion for judgment of dismissal should have been granted, and the dependency finding not made.  Judge Altenbernd, specially concurring, made clear that he was not suggesting the prior affirmation of the finding of dependency to the father was in any way incorrect, and made the point that the lower tribunal would still require the mother to take certain actions via the case plan, and that if she did not comply that court still had recourse.

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