In re: Shru. R. and Shre. R., Minors,
SASHIKALA RAMACHANDRAN, Respondent-Appellant THE PEOPLE OF THE STATE OF ILLINOIS, Petitioner-Appellee,
Appeal from Circuit Court of McLean County. No. 12JA71. Honorable Kevin P. Fitzgerald, Judge Presiding.
The trial court's order terminating respondent's parental rights to her two children was not against the manifest weight of the evidence, including evidence that respondent allowed the children to be sexually abused, that she returned to India without the children, and that the children were in a loving and safe home with foster parents who wanted to be a permanent part of the children's lives.
JUSTICE TURNER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Holder White and Steigmann concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] In July 2012, the State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship with respect to Shru. R. and Shre. R., the minor children of respondent, Sashikala Ramachandran. The trial court entered a temporary custody order granting custody to the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS). In October 2013, the
State filed a petition to terminate respondent's parental rights. In January 2014, the court found respondent unfit. In March 2014, the court found it in the minors' best interest that respondent's parental rights be terminated.
[¶2] On appeal, respondent argues the trial court erred in terminating her parental rights. We affirm.
[¶3] I. BACKGROUND
[¶4] In July 2012, the State filed a petition for adjudication of wardship with respect to Shru. R., born in 1997, and Shre. R., born in 2000, the minor children of respondent. The petition listed the minors' father, Ramachandran Rishnamoorthy, as being deceased in November 2010. The petition alleged the minors were abused pursuant to section 2-3(2)(iii) of the Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Juvenile Court Act) (705 ILCS 405/2-3(2)(iii) (West 2012)) in that respondent allowed Kankaraj Sheelam to commit sex offenses against the minors despite the minors' disclosure that the abuse was occurring. The petition also alleged the minors were abused pursuant to section 2-3(2)(v) of the Juvenile Court Act (705 ILCS 405/2-3(2)(v) (West 2012)) in that respondent inflicted excessive corporal punishment on at least one occasion by repeatedly striking Shre. R., causing her nose to bleed. The trial court found probable cause existed for the filing of the petition and placed temporary custody with DCFS.
[¶5] In October 2012, the trial court found the minors were abused based on respondent repeatedly striking Shre. R., causing her nose to bleed. In its November 2012 dispositional order, the court found respondent unfit and unable to care for, protect, train, educate, supervise, or discipline the minors and placement with her was contrary to the health, safety, and best interest of the minors because she had been incarcerated since July 30, 2012, and had not been able to participate in recommended services. The court made the minors wards of the court and placed custody and guardianship with DCFS.
[¶6] In December 2012, a jury found respondent guilty of permitting sexual abuse of a child (720 ILCS 5/11-9.1A(a) (West 2012)) in McLean County case No. 12-CF-701. In September 2013, defendant was sentenced to 48 months' probation.
[¶7] In October 2013, the State filed a petition to terminate respondent's parental rights. The State alleged respondent was unfit because she failed to (1) maintain a reasonable degree of interest, concern, or responsibility as to the minors' welfare (750 ILCS 50/1(D)(b) (West 2012)); (2) protect the children from conditions within their environment injurious to their welfare (750 ILCS 50/1(D)(g) (West 2012)); and (3) make reasonable progress toward the return of ...