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08/18/88 In Re Dawn Perez Et Al.

August 18, 1988

IN RE DAWN PEREZ ET AL., MINORS (THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF


Before a minor is subject to the court's jurisdiction under the Juvenile Court Act (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, par. 701-1 et seq.), a petition pursuant to section 4-1 of the Act must be filed alleging sufficient jurisdictional facts and that it is in the best interest of the minor and the public that he be adJudged a ward of the court. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, par. 704-1.) The jurisdictional facts may relate to any of several grounds. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, par. 702-1.) The jurisdictional grounds are delinquency, need of supervision or authoritative intervention, neglect or dependency as defined in sections 2-2 through 2-5 of the Juvenile Court Act. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, pars. 702-1 through 702-5.) Any of these grounds, if properly proved and if it is found to be in the best interests of the minor and the public, will lead to the minor being adJudged a ward of the court (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, pars. 701-18, 704-8, 705-1.) Once adjudicated a ward of the court, the minor then becomes subject to the Dispositional powers of the court in respect to minors adJudged wards of the court. Ill. Rev. Stat. 1985, ch. 37, pars. 701-10, 701-18, 705-1.

APPELLATE COURT OF ILLINOIS, SECOND DISTRICT

Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee, v.

Susan Green, Respondent-Appellant). -- In re DAWN PEREZ et

al., Minors (The People of the State of Illinois,

Petitioner-Appellant, v. Robert Perez,

Respondent-Appellee)

528 N.E.2d 238, 173 Ill. App. 3d 922, 123 Ill. Dec. 693 1988.IL.1272

Appeal from the Circuit Court of Kane County; the Hon. Thomas E. Hogan, Judge, presiding.

APPELLATE Judges:

PRESIDING JUSTICE LINDBERG delivered the opinion of the court. INGLIS and WOODWARD, JJ., concur.

DECISION OF THE COURT DELIVERED BY THE HONORABLE JUDGE LINDBERG

In appeal No. 2 -- 87 -- 0192, respondent, Susan Green, the natural mother, appeals from the order of the circuit court of Kane County terminating her parental rights to her minor children, Dawn and Reina Perez. In appeal No. 2 -- 87 -- 0204, the State appeals from the same order which refused to terminate the parental rights of the natural father, Robert Perez, to his daughters Dawn and Reina. The two appeals have been consolidated for oral argument and opinion.

On November 29, 1982, the Department of Children and Family Services contacted Catholic Social Services regarding the temporary placement of two minor children, Dawn and Reina Perez, in foster care. The minor's mother, Susan Green, was suffering from pneumonia and was to be admitted to the hospital, and the father, Robert Perez, had recently been released from incarceration and did not have a place for the children. At this time, Dawn was five years old and Reina was 1 1/2 years old. On December 1, 1982, the State filed a petition for adjudication alleging the minors to be neglected as to their mother in that she was unable to care for them due to severe physical illness and that it was in the minors' best interest that they be made wards of the court. (Ill. Rev. Stat. 1981, ch. 37, par. 702-4.) Additionally, on December 1, 1982, at the shelter care hearing, the court ordered DCFS to take temporary custody and guardianship of the minors pending a hearing of the State's petition. On January 18, 1983, after a hearing, Susan being physically well enough to care for the minors, and by agreement, the cause was continued to March 22, 1983, and the minors were returned to the custody and guardianship of respondent-mother with continued supervision by DCFS.

Between January 18, 1983, and March 22, 1983, Helen Twedt, a caseworker with CSS in adoption and foster care, attempted to meet with respondent on a regular basis, but respondent was not at home most of the time when Mrs. Twedt scheduled visits or when she attempted to find respondent on unscheduled visits. On February 9, 1983, Mrs. Twedt visited respondent's home. She was let in by the five-year-old minor, Dawn. Helen Twedt stated Susan appeared lethargic, and Susan stated she was sick. Susan stated that some friends who had been staying at her place took her food stamps, money, food and some of the furniture but she was too sick to worry about it at the time. Mrs. Twedt stated the children looked unkempt and that Dawn said she was making some food for them to eat. Mrs. Twedt made an appointment to return early the next week to talk with Susan after she had a chance to get back on her feet. When Mrs. Twedt arrived, Susan and the minors were not there. Mrs. Twedt could not find Susan or the minors before the court hearing on March 22, 1983.

On March 22, 1983, a hearing order was entered which continued the cause, continued DCFS' supervision of the minors, and returned temporary custody and guardianship to DCFS. There is no record of the March 22, 1983, hearing, but, apparently, custody was returned to DCFS due to respondent's readmittance to a hospital because Mrs. Twedt testified at the termination hearing that she met with respondent at the hospital to tell her what occurred at the March 22, 1983, hearing. Mrs. Twedt stated she told Susan the children were returned to foster care because respondent was unable to take care of them.

The cause was continued periodically by agreement of the parties with the minors remaining in a foster home under the supervision of DCFS. Between April 1983 and December 1983, respondent had regular visitation with the minors at CSS. Helen Twedt, the caseworker, met with respondent and developed a service plan to help respondent achieve return of the minors to her custody.

On December 8, 1983, an adjudicatory hearing was finally held on the State's initial petition to adjudicate the minors neglected based on respondent's inability to take care of them due to respondent's severe physical illness. At this hearing, the State indicated that although the December 1, 1982, petition alleged neglect due to physical illness, the State felt the case was one of general neglect and that the petition of December 1, 1982, had been orally amended on the record but an amended petition had never been filed. The State sought to go beyond the issue of physical illness and prove general neglect. Respondent's counsel objected and orally moved to suppress such evidence absent proof that the State had amended the petition. After a Discussion, respondent stipulated to the State's offer of proof as to the original petition based on physical illness. The stipulated facts were that respondent was hospitalized for a short time beginning on November 29, 1982, for pneumonia; that before the minors could be returned, respondent again became very sick and was hospitalized in March 1983 for an alleged blood clot and for pneumonia. Since March 1983, respondent has not been hospitalized but ...


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