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In re J.H.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

August 14, 2014

In re J.H. The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,
v.
Crystal H., Respondent-Appellant

Appeal from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria County, Illinois. Circuit No. 10-JA-308. Honorable Albert Purham, Jr. Judge, Presiding.

SYLLABUS

Respondent mother's parental rights were properly terminated where the trial court's finding that she failed to make reasonable progress toward the return of her minor daughter was not against the manifest weight of the evidence and the trial court properly admitted the records of a rehabilitation center as a business record to show that she continued her relationship with her paramour, who had whipped the child on the face with a belt and had a violent temper, notwithstanding respondent's contention that the State failed to show that the center was an " agency" pursuant to the Juvenile Court Act, since respondent failed to allege how the center failed to qualify as an agency and did not cite any case law supporting her argument.

JUSTICE WRIGHT delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Presiding Justice Lytton and Justice O'Brien concurred in the judgment and opinion.

OPINION

Page 867

WRIGHT, JUSTICE.

[¶1] The trial court found respondent mother, Crystal H., unfit for failing to make reasonable progress toward returning the minor, J.H., home. 750 ILCS 50/1(D)(m)(iii) (West 2012). Mother's parental rights were terminated and she appeals only the finding of unfitness. We affirm.

[¶2] BACKGROUND

[¶3] Minor J.H. was born on August 20, 2004. On October 27, 2010, the State filed

Page 868

a petition for adjudication of wardship alleging the minor was abused and neglected. The first count alleged the minor was abused because mother's paramour, Martel Willis, inflicted physical injury on the minor after he whipped the minor in the face with a belt. Count II alleged the minor's environment was injurious to her welfare because: (1) mother's paramour inflicted physical injury on the minor when he whipped her in the face with a belt; (2) mother was aware her paramour had a violent temper because mother was a victim of her paramour's domestic violence on at least two occasions and allowed her paramour to act as the minor's caretaker; (3) mother was going to take out an order of protection against her paramour, but did not; (4) mother allowed her paramour's mother to watch the minor; (5) mother failed to complete a drug test on October 25, 2010; and (6) on October 26, 2010, mother attempted to transfer guardianship of the minor to a relative. That same day, the trial court entered an order placing the minor in shelter care.

[¶4] On February 7, 2011, the trial court entered a dispositional order finding mother unfit based on the allegations contained in the petition and mother's " drug use." The trial court named the minor a ward of the court and named the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) as her guardian. The trial court also ordered mother to execute all authorizations for releases of information requested by DCFS, obtain a drug and alcohol assessment and successfully complete any course of recommended treatment, perform three random drug drops per month, maintain stable housing, and successfully complete counseling, a parenting course, and a domestic violence course as recommended by DCFS.

[¶5] At the July 11, 2011, January 9, 2012, and July 2, 2012, permanency review hearings, the trial court ordered the permanency goal to be to return the minor home within one year. At the fourth permanency hearing on November 6, 2012, the court ordered the goal changed to substitute care pending termination of parental rights because mother failed to make " reasonable efforts" toward completing her service plan and the permanency goal.

[¶6] On April 18, 2013, the State filed a petition to terminate mother's parental rights pursuant to the Adoption Act (the Act) (750 ILCS 50/1 et seq. (West 2012)). The petition alleged mother was an unfit person because she failed to make reasonable progress toward the return of the minor to her care during any nine-month period after the end of the initial nine-month period following the adjudication of neglect (specifically ...


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