Burdens required for terminating parental rights include child’s injury with parent: C.(M.E.) v. CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES (COA 5/16/2008)

C.(M.E.)  v. CABINET FOR HEALTH AND FAMILY SERVICES
FAMILY LAW:  Termination of parental rights and proving injury with the parent
2007-CA-001904
PUBLISHED: VACATING AND REMANDING
PANEL: CLAYTON PRESIDING; NICKELL, TAYLOR CONCUR
WARREN COUNTY
DATE RENDERED: 5/16/2008

Mother appealed judgment terminating her parental rights to two children. KRS 625.090 provides that parental rights may be involuntarily terminated if the court finds from the pleadings and clear and convincing evidence that the child has been adjudged to be an abused and neglected child, as defined under KRS 600.020(1), and that the termination would be in the best interests of the child. The court must also find by clear and convincing evidence one of the grounds under KRS 625.090(2). COA found that the Cabinet did not meet its burden. First, the Cabinet did not present substantial evidence under KRS 625.090(1). There was no evidence that the children suffered any direct, emotional or physical injury with the mother. Second, the Cabinet failed to provide reasonable services to reunite the family. Third, there was no substantial evidence to support a finding of no reasonable expectation of improvement in the mother’s condition. Finally, the Cabinet failed to prove that the mother is incapable of rendering care in the future. Due to the lack of substantial evidence to support the trial court’s termination judgment, the COA REVERSED AND REMANDED.

Digested by Sarah Jost Nielsen, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates

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