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Appeals court affirms Crow Wing County District Court decision on child's welfare

A child in a home where the guardians were reported to be using methamphetamine was removed from the home by a Crow Wing County District Court.

This week, the Minnesota Court of Appeals affirmed the lower court’s decision regarding the male child’s welfare.

On Sept. 19, 2011, two county investigators visited the home after receiving a report of meth being used by the child’s guardians.

The investigators reported they found signs of the drug use and the home in overall poor condition. The child’s biological mother delegated her parental authority appointing the couple in question to serve as his guardians shortly after he was born. In August of 2011, a district court awarded the boy’s custody to the woman who served as his guardian.

The guardians were instructed to produce samples for drug screening but they did not appear for drug testing. The county filed a child protection petition and the child was taken into custody.

The district court conducted an emergency protective care hearing. At the end of the hearing, the female guardian was ordered to submit for testing and the court reported the tests were positive for meth. A hair sample from the child also tested positive for meth.

In May of 2012, the court ordered the boy placed in the care of his biological mother subject to protective supervision by the county.

The court of appeals affirmed that decision saying the district court’s conclusions were supported by evidence. The appeals court pointed to the child’s positive test for meth and expert testimony that stated the meth was ingested by the boy within 90 days of the test.

His female guardian tested positive for meth both before and during the trial and provided no viable explanation for the positive tests.

The guardian couple divorced shortly after the child was taken into custody with the male guardian admitting to being a meth addict.

Evidence before the court found the guardian couple continued to see each other despite the divorce.

“The district court heard and relied on substantial evidence that (the child) was without proper parental care and was in an injurious and dangerous environment,” the appellate court reported.

Denton (Denny) Newman Jr.
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