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In re P.T.D.
Supreme Court of North Dakota
October 17, 2017
In the Interest of P.T.D., a Child Eileen Hoffman, L.S.W., Stutsman County, Petitioner and Appellee
P.T.D., child, T.D., father, Respondents and A.D., mother, Respondent and Appellant In the Interest of C.R.D., a Child Eileen Hoffman, L.S.W., Stutsman County, Petitioner and Appellee
C.R.D., child, T.D., father, Respondents and A.D., mother, Respondent and Appellant In the Interest of P.A.D., a Child Eileen Hoffman, L.S.W., Stutsman County, Petitioner and Appellee
P.A.D., child, T.D., father, Respondents and A.D., mother, Respondent and Appellant In the Interest of P.P.D., a Child Eileen Hoffman, L.S.W., Stutsman County, Petitioner and Appellee
P.P.D., child, T.D., father, Respondents and A.D., mother, Respondent and Appellant In the Interest of N.A.D., a Child Eileen Hoffman, L.S.W., Stutsman County, Petitioner and Appellee
N.A.D., child, T.D., father, Respondents and A.D., mother, Respondent and Appellant
from the Juvenile Court of Stutsman County, Southeast
Judicial District, the Honorable Mark T. Blumer, Judge.
Jeffrey P. Davis, Stutsman County Assistant State's
Attorney, Jamestown, ND, for petitioner and appellee.
Kraus-Parr, Grand Forks, ND, for respondent and appellant.
1] A.D., the mother of P.T.D., C.R.D., P.A.D., P.P.D., and
N.A.D., appeals from a juvenile court order finding her five
children were deprived under N.D.C.C. § 27-20-02(8). We
conclude the juvenile court did not make sufficient findings
of fact and remand for further findings.
2] On February 10, 2017, the juvenile court held a
deprivation hearing regarding A.D. and T.D.'s five
children. T.D. is the father of all five children and did not
appeal the juvenile court's order. The State alleged the
children were deprived under N.D.C.C. § 27-20-02(8). The
State alleged the children were deprived because of repeated
exposure to domestic violence between A.D. and T.D.;
A.D.'s substance abuse and the presence of controlled
substances in the home; T.D.'s suicide attempts; and
other mental health issues.
3] At the deprivation hearing, the juvenile court heard
testimony from P.T.D., the oldest child; A.D.'s father,
the children's grandfather; Jessica Hartman, sergeant of
the 24/7 program at the Stutsman County Correctional Center;
Mercedez Holzworth, deputy sheriff at the Stutsman County
Sheriff's department; T.D.'s mother, the
children's grandmother; Eileen Hoffman, Stutsman County
child protection worker; Nicole Heinle, family service
specialist at Stutsman County Social Services; T.D.; and A.D.
P.T.D. testified that he cared for his younger siblings while
his parents were sleeping, did not feel safe at his
parents' home, and was scared of his father. The
children's grandfather testified about where A.D. was
living while the children were removed and his observations
of A.D., T.D., and the children. Hartman testified about
A.D.'s urinalysis results, showing A.D.'s drug use.
Holzworth testified about her experience in responding to
calls from A.D. and T.D.'s home in the prior six months.
The children's grandmother testified about her
experiences with the children, what she observed in A.D. and
T.D.'s home, along with how they cared for their
children. Hoffman testified about her concerns regarding the
conditions of the home prior to the removal of the children.
Heinle testified about A.D.'s drug screening results and
the youngest child's medical conditions and treatment.
A.D. and T.D. each testified about their care of the children
and also different issues related to their relationship, drug
use, and mental health. Overall, the juvenile court heard a
significant amount of testimony about the family's living
situation and the relationships between the parents and their
4] After the deprivation hearing, the juvenile court found
the children were deprived by clear and convincing evidence.
The juvenile court ordered the children removed from the
care, custody, and control of their parents on February 13,
2017. The juvenile court found the children deprived, as
defined in N.D.C.C. § 27-20-02, and provided the
following factual findings:
In particular, the children's mother, [A.D.], has recent
positive tests for methamphetamine. [A.D.] is known to sleep
late in the day, leaving the eldest of the children to care
for the others. It should also be noted that when [N.A.D.]
(the youngest of the children) is in his grandmother's
care, the child "thrives." When [N.A.D.] is
returned to [A.D.]'s care, [N.A.D.] ends up in the
hospital. The children's father, [T.D.], has numerous
recent attempts of suicide. Law enforcement has been
dispatched to [A.D. and T.D.'s] residence on several
occasions for domestic violence issues due to [T.D.]'s
behavior. Furthermore, the eldest child at age 12, [P.T.D.],
has expressed multiple occurrences when he has been concerned
for his siblings and mother's welfare.
were the juvenile court's only written findings of fact
following the deprivation hearing, aside from basic
information about the family and repeating the statutory
language. The juvenile court also made oral findings,
including a contradictory finding that N.A.D.'s health
issues "have all been related to his birth condition and
there isn't sufficient testimony one way or the other as
to the causes and effects on that." After finding the
children deprived, the three oldest children were placed with
the paternal grandparents, and the two youngest children were
placed in foster care.
5] On appeal, A.D. requests this Court reverse the juvenile
court and return the custody of the children to her. The
juvenile court terminated its order and returned the children
to the care, custody, and control of A.D. and T.D. on April
6] A.D. argues the juvenile court erred in finding the
children deprived under N.D.C.C. § 27-20-02.
Additionally, A.D. alleges the juvenile court failed to find
"exceptional circumstances" warranting placement of
the children with someone other than the children's
natural parents. Although custody has since been returned to
A.D. and T.D., we review the juvenile court's decision
because the nights the children spent in the custody of
social services may be used in ...