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In re A.S.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

April 30, 2014

In re A.S., A Minor, The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
Spencer B., Respondent-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois, Circuit No. 12-JA-189. Honorable Mark E. Gilles, Judge, Presiding.

Affirmed.

SYLLABUS

The trial court did not abuse its discretion in removing respondent's son from respondent's custody and naming DCFS as the child's guardian, since placement with respondent was not in the child's best interest, where the child had recently been adjudicated neglected based on the injurious environment related to his mother and placed with respondent, but then respondent's previous involvement with DCFS surfaced and the caseworker from respondent's case informed the caseworker in the instant case, inter alia, that respondent's family, including his wife and father-in-law, were hostile and uncooperative, the wife had unresolved substance abuse, mental health and parenting issues, and respondent had been arrested for cannabis possession.

Timothy D. McCarthy, of Peoria, for appellant.

Jerry Brady, State's Attorney, of Peoria (Richard T. Leonard, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

JUSTICE HOLDRIDGE delivered the judgment of the court with opinion. Justices McDade and O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

HOLDRIDGE, JUSTICE

Page 616

[¶1] Following a dispositional hearing, the circuit court made A.S. a ward of the court and found his mother dispositionally unfit. The circuit court found A.S.'s father, respondent Spencer B., to be dispositionally fit and granted him guardianship of A.S. Subsequently, after reopening the dispositional hearing for additional evidence, the circuit court modified its dispositional order, removing A.S. from respondent and granting guardianship to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). On appeal, the respondent argues that the circuit court's finding that it was in the best interest of A.S. to remove him from respondent and name DCFS as his guardian was against the manifest weight of the evidence. We affirm.

[¶2] FACTS

[¶3] On August 7, 2012, the State filed a petition for wardship alleging that four-year-old A.S. was a neglected minor in that his environment was injurious to his welfare. The allegations pertained to solely to A.S.'s mother, Brittany S. On December 6, 2012, A.S. was adjudicated neglected.

[¶4] On January 24, 2013, a dispositional hearing report was filed. The report was completed by a caseworker from the Center for Youth and Family Solutions, Meagan Novak. The report indicated that the respondent and his wife, Kelsey B., fully cooperated with all of the agency's requests and were committed to assuring the safety and stability of their family. The report also indicated that there was no indication that the respondent would attempt to reestablish a relationship with Brittany S. The respondent was honest about his criminal history and prior involvement with DCFS. It was recommended that the respondent be found fit and A.S. remain in his care.

[¶5] On January 24, 2013, a dispositional hearing took place. The circuit court entered a dispositional order finding that it was in the best interest of A.S. to make him a ward of the court. The circuit court found that Brittany S. was dispositionally unfit and that respondent was fit. The circuit court placed ...


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