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In re J.A.H.

Supreme Court of North Dakota

October 28, 2014

In the Interest of J.A.H., child; State of North Dakota, Petitioner and Appellee
v.
J.A.H., Child; M.U., Mother, R.H., Father, and the Guardian ad Litem, Janice Briese, Respondents M.U., Mother Appellant; In the Interest of D.H., child; State of North Dakota, Petitioner and Appellee
v.
D.H., Child; M.U., Mother, R.H., Father, and the Guardian ad Litem, Janice Briese, Respondents M.U., Mother Appellant

Page 395

Appeal from the Juvenile Court of Morton County, South Central Judicial District, the Honorable Thomas J. Schneider, Judge.

Quinn P. Fylling, Bismarck, ND, for respondent and appellant.

Justin M. Balzer, Morton County Assistant State's Attorney, Mandan, ND, for petitioner and appellee.

Gerald W. VandeWalle, C.J., Dale V. Sandstrom, Daniel J. Crothers, Lisa Fair McEvers, Carol Ronning Kapsner. Opinion of the Court bye McEvers, Justice.

OPINION

Page 396

McEvers, Justice.

[¶1] M.U., the mother, appeals from a juvenile court order removing her children and placing them in the custody of Morton County Social Services. While retaining jurisdiction under Rule 35(a)(3), N.D.R.App.P., we remand with instructions that, within sixty days from the filing of this opinion, the juvenile court make expedited findings of fact to determine whether D.H. and J.A.H. are deprived.

I

[¶2] M.U. is the mother of D.H., born in 1998, and J.A.H., born in 2001. On September 6, 2013, M.U. sought assistance from Burleigh County Social Services due to concerns she was being stalked. Later the same day, a juvenile court officer issued a temporary custody order granting Morton County Social Services temporary custody of the children. At a shelter care hearing held on September 10, 2013, the judicial referee found continued shelter care was necessary, as probable cause for deprivation existed. The State petitioned to obtain custody of the children, for up to twelve months, alleging the children were deprived.

[¶3] A hearing was held on the petition on February 19, 2014. At the hearing, various employees of Social Services testified that M.U. moved her children from state to state because she believed she was being followed by law enforcement officers, family members, and military personnel. Testimony regarding M.U.'s mental health status, the children's status regarding their physical and mental well-being, and the children's educational levels was provided. According to the guardian ad litem, D.H. and J.A.H. desired to remain in foster care.

[¶4] At the conclusion of the hearing, the judicial referee found the children were deprived and ordered they be placed in the custody of Social Services until June 30, 2014. M.U. requested review of the judicial referee's order under N.D. S.Ct. Admin. R. 13 and the district judge affirmed. M.U. then appealed to this Court.

[¶5] On appeal, M.U. argues the judicial referee inadequately explained his findings when he concluded D.H. and J.A.H. were deprived children and the juvenile referee's order was not ...


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