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People ex rel. K.B.

Court of Appeals of Colorado, Fifth Division

February 11, 2016

The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee, In the Interest of K.B. and M.B., Children, and Concerning A.B. and J.B., Respondents-Appellants

          Mesa County District Court No. 13JV134. Honorable David A. Bottger, Judge.

         Patrick Coleman, County Attorney, Garrett Forsgren, Special County Attorney, Grand Junction, Colorado, for Petitioner-Appellee.

         James E. Plumhoff, III, Guardian Ad Litem.

         Rennard E. Hailey P.C., Rennard E. Hailey, Grand Junction, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellant A.B.

         Leigh Coleman Tayler P.C., Leigh Coleman Taylor, Grand Junction, Colorado, for Respondent-Appellant J.B..

         Opinion by JUDGE RICHMAN. Hawthorne and Furman, JJ., concur.

          OPINION

         RICHMAN, JUDGE.

          [¶1] In this dependency and neglect proceeding, A.B. (mother) appeals from the judgment terminating the parent-child legal relationship between her and her children, K.B. and Ma.B. J.B. (father) appeals from the judgment terminating the parent-child legal relationship between him and his child, Ma.B.

          [¶2] We are asked to consider whether a treatment plan that does not address safety concerns about domestic violence that were present from the beginning of the case is nevertheless appropriate based on services that were ultimately provided. We conclude this presents a question of fact that must be considered by the trial court at the termination hearing. We therefore affirm the judgment with respect to father, vacate the judgment with respect to mother, and remand the case to the trial court for further findings.

         I. Mother's and Father's Treatment Plans

          [¶3] In March 2013, the Mesa County Department of Human Services (the Department) opened a dependency and neglect case concerning sixteen-year-old K.S., thirteen-year-old Mi.B., eleven-year-old K.B., and nine-year-old Ma.B. The Department alleged that mother and father frequently fought; father yelled at the children, called them names, and physically abused them; Mi.B. had threatened one of his sisters with a knife after an argument; and K.S., who had significant physical disabilities due to cerebral palsy, was not receiving the physical therapy that she needed. M.B. II, father of the three older children, was incarcerated when the petition was filed and remained incarcerated for much of the time the case was open.

          [¶4] Adjudication was deferred with respect to mother and father, and treatment plans were adopted for both. Mother's treatment plan required her to

o be financially responsible for her portion of the treatment plan, based on her ability to pay;
o provide releases of information for service providers and others as deemed appropriate by her case manager;
o contact her case manager every month to discuss needs, problems, status, and progress made on the treatment plan;
o inform the Department within seven days of any move and provide her new address and telephone number;
o comply with the treatment plan and advise the Department of steps taken in compliance and how she was incorporating new skills and recommendations in her everyday life;
o not remove the children from the county without approval of the Department's caseworker and the children's guardian ad litem (GAL), and not relocate out of Colorado with the children without the approval of the court;
o be available to consent to any educational needs of the children;
o allow the Department and the GAL to make announced and unannounced home visits at reasonable times;
o maintain a residence that met the needs of the children; and
o actively participate in and positively engage in a services assessment with a Department-approved evaluator and follow all reasonable recommendations including but not limited to substance abuse treatment, mental health treatment, parenting classes, etc.

         Father's treatment plan was the same.

          [¶5] From time to time thereafter, mother's and father's treatment plans were modified. Among other changes, both parents' treatment plans were amended to require them to actively participate in individual therapy with a treatment provider approved by the Department.

          [¶6] Conflict between mother and father continued, and in August 2013, the children were removed from the home because of renewed concerns about domestic violence and threats by father. In October 2013, the ...


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