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09/29/87 In Re E.J.F. (the People of the State of Illinois

September 29, 1987

IN RE E.J.F. (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS,


APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, FOURTH DISTRICT

Petitioner-Appellee, v.

Margaret Freeman, Respondent-Appellant)

514 N.E.2d 544, 161 Ill. App. 3d 325, 112 Ill. Dec. 881

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Champaign County; the Hon. John R. DeLaMar, Judge, presiding. 1987.IL.1455

APPELLATE Judges:

JUSTICE LUND delivered the opinion of the court. GREEN and McCULLOUGH, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LUND

The circuit court of Champaign County entered an order on February 27, 1987, terminating the parental rights of respondent, Margaret Freeman, as well as the parental rights of the minor's unknown father, pursuant to section 1of the Adoption Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 40, par. 1501). Respondent appeals. We affirm.

Respondent gave birth to her son, the minor E.J.F., on May 30, 1985. At the time, respondent was incarcerated at the Dwight Women's Correctional Center. Respondent was discharged from Dwight on June 2, 1985, but remained hospitalized at St. Francis Hospital, where the minor was born, and then at the Adolf Meyer Mental Health and Developmental Center in Decatur until some time in September 1985.

The State filed a petition to find the minor dependent on June 3, 1985, pursuant to section 2-5 of the Juvenile Court Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1983, ch. 37, par. 702-5). A shelter-care hearing was held, and the court ordered that temporary custody be placed with the guardianship administrator of the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services . The minor was placed in a foster home and has resided with foster parents since his discharge from the hospital. The matter was later transferred from Livingston County to Champaign County.

On November 21, 1985, the State filed a two-count supplemental petition alleging in count I that the minor was abused by reason of an injurious environment when he lived with respondent, and in count II that the minor was dependent because of the mental disability of respondent. After a hearing, the court adjudicated the minor dependent and abused based on the allegations in the original and supplemental petitions. This adjudicatory hearing was held on December 26, 1985. On January 28, 1986, the Dispositional hearing was held. Respondent did not appear at either hearing although served with notice. Moreover, the public defender, respondent's attorney, stated she had not been able to contact respondent regarding these court proceedings. The Dispositional order made the minor a ward of the court, transferred custody to DCFS, and required respondent to cooperate with DCFS in visitation matters and in taking steps to become a responsible parent. Included among those steps were an evaluation for alcohol or other drug dependency and a mental health evaluation. The written order was entered on February 6, 1986.

A report prepared by DCFS worker Kim Fitton, for a review hearing on March 26, 1986, indicated respondent was less than cooperative with DCFS. Fitton's attempts to schedule visitation sessions between respondent and her son and to arrange evaluations for chemical dependency and mental health were rejected. Fitton managed one visit with respondent in mid-March. Nothing was accomplished because of respondent's lack of cooperation, and the visit ended when respondent asked Fitton to leave. Again, respondent did not appear at the review hearing nor did she speak with her attorney.

A second review hearing was held on December 30, 1986. The DCFS report for that hearing indicated respondent's whereabouts were unknown from mid-March until December 1986. At that time, respondent was found to be an inpatient at the Andrew McFarland Mental Health Center (McFarland Center) in Springfield.

A supplemental petition was filed on December 18, 1986, seeking to find the parents of E.J.F. unfit and to ...


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