In the Interest of A.L.E., a child Grand Forks County Social Service Center, Petitioner and Appellee
A.L.E., Child, A.A.A., Father, Respondents and A.E., Mother, Respondent and Appellant
from the Juvenile Court of Grand Forks County, Northeast
Central Judicial District, the Honorable Lolita G. Hartl
Jacqueline A. Gaddie, Assistant State's Attorney and
Jackson Pasco, third-year law student, under the Rule on
Limited Practice of Law by Law Students, Grand Forks, ND, for
petitioner and appellee; submitted on brief.
J. Schuman, Grand Forks, ND, for respondent and appellant
A.E.; submitted on brief.
1] A.E., the mother of A.L.E., appeals from a judgment
terminating her parental rights. Because the juvenile court
correctly applied the law, the record contains evidence to
support the juvenile court's decision, and we are not
left with a definite and firm conviction a mistake has been
made, we affirm.
2] A.E. and A.A. are the biological parents of A.L.E., who
was born in September 2015. The record, in summary, reveals
that A.E. has struggled with substance abuse before and after
A.L.E.'s birth. Her substance abuse has resulted in
multiple periods of incarceration. Her substance abuse has
required, at the time of the hearing, that A.L.E. be in
foster care and in the custody of Social Services for 707
days of the days since her birth in 2015. A.E.'s drug
usage has also adversely affected A.L.E.'s health.
3] A.A. did not participate in the termination proceedings
and has not appealed. A.E. has appealed and challenges the
juvenile court's determination that A.L.E. is deprived
and the determination that the causes of the deprivation are
likely to continue. A.E. also asserts that reasonable efforts
were not made to reunify her with A.L.E.
4] Section 27-20-44(1)(c)(1), N.D.C.C., authorizes a juvenile
court to terminate parental rights if a "child is a
deprived child and the court finds... [t]he conditions and
causes of the deprivation are likely to continue or will not
be remedied and that by reason thereof the child is suffering
or will probably suffer serious physical, mental, moral, or
emotional harm[.]" These elements must be established by
clear and convincing evidence. See Matter of
C.D.G.E., 2017 ND 13, ¶ 4, 889 N.W.2d 863. We apply
the clearly erroneous standard of review to the juvenile
court's findings. See Interest of A.B., 2017 ND
178, ¶ 12, 898 N.W.2d 676. Under the clearly erroneous
standard of review, we affirm the decision of the juvenile
court unless it is induced by an erroneous view of the law,
if there is no evidence to support it, or if, on the entire
record, we are left with a definite and firm conviction a
mistake has been made. Id.
5] A.E. argues the juvenile court erred in finding A.L.E. is
deprived. A deprived child is defined in N.D.C.C. §
27-20-02(8)(a) as one who is "without proper parental
care or control, subsistence, education as required by law,
or other care or control necessary for the child's
physical, mental, or emotional health, or morals, and the
deprivation is not due primarily to the lack of financial
means of the child's parents, guardian, or other
6] Prenatal exposure to any controlled substance is a ground
for a finding of deprivation. See N.D.C.C. §
27-20-02(8)(f). A.E. used marijuana throughout her pregnancy,
and A.L.E. tested positive for marijuana at birth.
Deprivation can also be shown if the child is present in an
environment of controlled substances and drug paraphernalia.
See N.D.C.C. § 27-20-02(8)(g). A probation
search of A.E.'s home when she was the primary caregiver
of A.L.E. resulted in the discovery of methamphetamine,
marijuana, and drug paraphernalia. This evidence supports the
juvenile court's finding that there was clear and
convincing evidence A.L.E. was a deprived child. The juvenile
court did not ...