The People of the State of Colorado, Petitioner-Appellee, In the Interest of B.C., a Child, and Concerning L.T., Respondent-Appellant.
County District Court No. 16JV42 Honorable Deborah R. Eyler,
Modified and Petition for Rehearing DENIED.
Cynthia Mitchell, County Attorney, David A. Roth, Special
Assistant County Attorney, Pueblo, Colorado, for
N. H. Ulrich, Guardian Ad Litem Law Office of Roy Wallis, Roy
Wallis, Mesa, Arizona, for Respondent-Appellant
1 L.T. (mother) appeals the judgment terminating the
parent-child legal relationship with her child, B.C.
2 Mother contends that the trial court erred by not
conducting a dispositional hearing or adopting a formal
treatment plan that was found to be appropriate. The Pueblo
County Department of Social Services (the Department)
responds that the court substantially complied with the
procedural requirements of sections 19-3-507 and
-508(1)(d)(II), C.R.S. 2017. The Department also argues that
mother waived her objections by not raising them in the trial
court, and that she was not prejudiced by any failure to hold
a dispositional hearing. Because we agree with mother, we
reverse the judgment and remand for further proceedings.
3 The proceedings in this case began when the child and
mother tested positive for methamphetamine after the child
4 The Department filed a petition in dependency and neglect,
alleging that there were concerns that mother had continued
to use methamphetamine and was not bonding with the child.
5 After a Family Voice Conference, mother stipulated to an
adjudication, admitting that the child's environment was
injurious to his welfare. She also stipulated to a
preliminary treatment plan that required her to (1) sign
releases of information; (2) participate in sobriety
monitoring; (3) complete substance abuse and mental health
evaluations and follow recommended treatment; (4) attend
parenting classes and the child's doctor appointments;
and (5) attend visitation.
6 Although no dispositional hearing was held, on February 23,
2016, the Department filed a special report with the trial
court containing an attached treatment plan that had the same
requirements. The cover page indicates that the Department
sent mother's counsel a copy of the formal treatment
7 By order dated February 29, 2016, based on mother's
stipulation, the trial court adjudicated the child dependent
and neglected. The court also ordered the Department to
"submit a formal treatment plan to the Court within
twenty (20) days from the date of the family voice
conference." The order specified that "if no
objections are made to said formal treatment plan, the formal
treatment plan shall be adopted and made an order of the
Court." The order did not include a finding that the
treatment plan was "appropriate."
8 Mother did not object to the preliminary treatment plan
from the Family Voice ...