Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division
In Re ADAM B., JOSHUA B., and ISAIAH B., Minors The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,
ALMA B., Respondent-Appellant
JA 1300, 14 JA 1301, 14 JA 1302 . Honorable Peter Vilkelis
and Hyman, Justices concurred in the judgment and opinion.
[¶1] Respondent Alma B. appeals an order of
the circuit court of Cook County adjudicating her minor
children Adam B., Joshua B., and Isaiah B. abused and
neglected. The sole issue on appeal is whether the circuit
court's findings of abuse and neglect were against the
manifest weight of the evidence. For the following reasons,
we affirm the judgment of the circuit court.
[¶3] Alma B. is Adam, Joshua, and
Isaiah's mother. Marvin C. is Adam's putative father
or his father is unknown. Cornell B. is Joshua's father.
Antonio S. is Isaiah's putative father or his father is
unknown. None of the minors' fathers are parties to this
appeal. On November 4, 2014, the State filed a petition for
adjudication of wardship alleging that the minors Adam, born
on March 15, 2005, Joshua, born on June 20, 2007, and Isaiah,
born on June 9, 2013, were neglected due to a lack of
necessary care, neglected due to an injurious environment,
and abused due to a substantial risk of physical injury.
[¶4] In support of its assertions, the State
alleged the following facts: (1) Alma B. had four prior
indicated reports of inadequate shelter, inadequate
supervision, and failure to thrive; (2) an intact case was
opened on March 17, 2014; (3) Alma B. was noncompliant with
intact services including parenting coaching, therapy, and
services for Joshua; (4) Joshua was diagnosed with
Oppositional Defiant Disorder (ODD) and Attention Deficit
Hyperactivity Disorder (ADHD) and Alma B. was noncompliant
with the mental health treatment for Joshua; (5) Adam was not
enrolled in school until October 2014; (6) Alma B. failed to
cooperate with her intact worker's attempts to assess the
safety of the children in the home since September 16, 2014;
(7) on October 28, 2014, Isaiah exhibited an unexplained
pattern lesion on his leg and, per medical personnel, the
lesion was consistent with a burn; (8) Alma B. admitted a
delay in seeking medical attention for Isaiah; (9) Alma B.
had no explanation as to how Isaiah was injured; (10)
hospital staff stated that Alma B. was agitated and
noncooperative while they were assessing Isaiah's medical
needs; (11) Alma B. left the hospital with Isaiah prior to
the completion of the medical testing.
[¶5] On June 8, 2015, the circuit court held
an adjudicatory hearing. Danielle Robinson testified to the
following facts. She was employed as a social worker with
Omni Youth Services in the Intact Family Services Unit. She
was assigned to the case involving the minors Adam, Joshua
and Isaiah in March 2014, after a hotline call was made due
to allegations of physical abuse involving the minors. The
allegations were later determined to be unfounded. On March
17, 2014, Robinson had an initial meeting at Alma B.'s
home located at 1320 South Kedvale Avenue in Chicago.
Robinson explained to Alma B. that the services were
voluntary. Alma B. signed Illinois Department of Children and
Family Services (DCFS) informed consent and permission forms
for services. At the initial meeting, Robinson told Alma B.
that a consequence for not following up with the voluntary
intact family services is that the case could go back to DCFS
and may be filed with the circuit court.
[¶6] Robinson testified that, after
assessing Alma B. for services, Omni Youth Services agreed to
provide the family with housing assistance, parenting
coaching and mental health services for Joshua. Alma B.
requested housing assistance because she stated that there
were rats in her apartment and she wanted to move out.
Robinson contacted a housing advocate to assist Alma B.
Robinson testified that Alma B. needed parenting assistance
due to Joshua's aggressive behavior at home and at school
and because the case came in for suspected physical abuse.
Robinson also referred Alma B. to Mary & Tom Leo for
parenting coaching. On July 6, 2014, Mary & Tom Leo
terminated Alma B. from services because she was
noncompliant. The service provider reported that Alma B. had
excessive absences and that the decision to remove the
services would reduce Alma B.'s stress about
participating in the service.
[¶7] On or about June 4, 2014, Robinson
visited the family and learned that Joshua was
psychiatrically hospitalized at Garfield Park Hospital. Alma
B. told Robinson that, following an assessment conducted by
the Screening, Assessment and Supporting Services (SASS)
Joshua was hospitalized for behavioral issues. Alma B. told
Robinson that Joshua was diagnosed with ODD and ADHD.
[¶8] Robinson visited the home again on June
23, 2014 at 6 p.m. She learned that Joshua was discharged
from Garfield Park Hospital on June 16, 2014. Alma B. told
Robinson that Joshua was prescribed 1 milligram of Tenex per
day, and that he was adjusting well to his medication.
Robinson also learned that Joshua was recommended to
participate in in-home therapy as a follow-up to his
treatment at Garfield Park Hospital through the Community
Counseling Center of Chicago (C4).
[¶9] Robinson visited the home again on July
22, 2014. During the visit, Alma B. indicated that Joshua was
not seeing a therapist and that the C4 therapist canceled the
first session. Alma B. also stated that Joshua refused take
his psychotropic medication and that Alma B. was having a
hard time trying to get it. Robinson advised Alma B. to seek
out a psychiatrist for Joshua and to call C4 and request that
a different therapist see Joshua. Alma B. told Robinson that
she called SASS when an incident between Joshua and Isaiah
took places at a laundromat when Joshua pushed Isaiah's
head against a wall. Alma B. told Robinson that SASS
recommended readmission to Garfield Park Hospital and Alma B.
agreed. Robinson offered to drive them to the hospital.
During Robinson's visit, Joshua ran away from the home
because he did not want to be readmitted. Alma B. picked
Joshua up and placed him in the car and Robinson drove them
to Garfield Park Hospital. Robinson asked Alma B. to sign a
consent to release information for records from Garfield Park
Hospital for Joshua and for his discharge papers, but she
refused. On August 5, 2014, Robinson spoke to Alma B. on the
phone and Alma B. indicated that Joshua was registered in the
Garfield Park Hospital's partial day program on Mondays
through Fridays for two weeks to address his ODD and ADHD.
[¶10] Robinson testified that as an intact
worker, to assess a home's safety, she is required to
visit a home weekly during the first 45 days and every other
week after the first 45 days. For the first 45 days, Alma B.
did not comply with weekly visits, and Robinson had
difficulty scheduling visits with Alma B. Alma B. rescheduled
some visits and several visits were canceled. For the first
45 days of the first 6 weeks, Robinson saw the family four
times. Robinson testified that it was difficult to meet Alma
B. even at specific dates and times although Alma B. was not
working. When the visits decreased to every other week, Alma
B. still did not comply and Robinson saw the family monthly.
[¶11] Robinson testified that on September
16, 2014, she attempted to visit the home. She heard Adam and
Joshua inside the house, knocked on the door, but nobody
answered. Robinson testified that she did not know if the
children were home alone. At that time, Robinson had not seen
the family in almost one month. Robinson called Alma B.
several times and received no answer. She left a voicemail
stating that since she was waiting so long without a call
back, a hotline call needed to be made. Robinson called the
police because she had not seen the family and she was
concerned that the children were home alone. The police
knocked loudly with a flashlight. Alma B. opened the door.
Robinson testified that Alma B. was upset that the police
came and told Robinson that she would have to bring the
police if she wanted to see her and the children in the home
again. Robinson testified that the home and children were
safe and appropriate. Alma B. told Robinson that she thought
that her intact case had closed. Robinson told Alma B. that
her case had not closed, explaining that, if the case had
closed, then Alma B. would have received a letter stating
that services were successfully completed.
[¶12] On October 24, 2014, Robinson had a
phone conversation with Alma B. regarding Alma B.'s
noncompliance with home visits. Alma B. told Robinson that
she did not know why she was considered noncompliant because
she had done everything she could possibly do. Robinson then
reminded Alma B. that she had not completed the parenting
coaching program that Robinson recommended. She also reminded
Alma B. that she had not agreed to give her Joshua's
discharge papers and Alma B. said " no comment." On
the same date, Alma B. informed Robinson that she had moved
in with a friend. Robinson told Alma B. that she needed to
schedule a home visit to assess the home the children were
living in. Alma B. indicated that she would call back with an
address after she spoke with her friend to see if she could
schedule an appointment. Two days later, Alma B. called
Robinson and stated that she could not provide an address.
Robinson never saw the children at that home and could not
confirm that they were staying with that friend.
[¶13] On October 22, 2014, Robinson spoke
with her supervisor about this case because she had not seen
the family for weeks and she was concerned. He supervisor
indicated that she may have to screen the case into court.
Robinson spoke to Alma B. on the phone on October 24, 2014.
They agreed to meet at the library because Alma B. stated
that they could not meet at her friend's house and
refused to provide an address. They never met at the library
because Alma B. learned that a new hotline call was made on
October 27, 2014, and she refused to meet with Robinson.
Robinson testified that, at the time that hotline call was
made, the intact family case was still open.
[¶14] Robinson testified that she observed
Alma B.'s interactions with the children from March of
2014 through July of 2014 and that they were appropriate;
that during this time, the children never stated that they
felt unsafe in Alma B.'s care, nor did they show any
signs of abuse or neglect; that they appeared well nourished,
clean and appropriately dressed; and that she observed Alma
B. redirecting Joshua when he would misbehave and she saw
Alma B. engage with her children. Robinson testified that
Isaiah was a little younger than 1 1/2 old when she met him.
Robinson stated that he was learning how to walk. Robinson
testified that the interactions between Isaiah and his
brothers were sometimes a bit rough. She asked Alma B. to
supervise contact between the brothers because Joshua was
" rough" to both of his siblings. Robinson
testified that Alma B. seemed receptive to supervising the
contact and stated that Alma B. told her that the children
were on a waitlist for three years to get into Walt Disney
School and Alma B. was excited that the children were
[¶15] Yvette Harris testified to the
following facts. She was an investigator employed with the
DCFS. She testified that a hotline report was filed on
October 27, 2014, for allegations of burns caused by neglect
for Isaiah and environmental neglect for the other minors. On
the same date, Harris spoke with Alma B. by telephone. She
informed Alma B. of the allegation, told her that she needed
to see the minors and that Isaiah needed to be seen by a
doctor. Alma B. stated that she could not take Isaiah to the
doctor at that time, but she would take him the next day.
Alma B. told Harris that Isaiah was with a friend in Waukegan
but refused to provide any information about the friend. Alma
B. stated that Joshua and Adam were also staying with a
different set of friends but did not provide an address or
any other information about them. Alma B. provided Harris
with the name " ...