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In re Adam B.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Second Division

January 26, 2016

In Re ADAM B., JOSHUA B., and ISAIAH B., Minors The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,
ALMA B., Respondent-Appellant

         Nos. 14 JA 1300, 14 JA 1301, 14 JA 1302 . Honorable Peter Vilkelis Judge Presiding.

         Neville and Hyman, Justices concurred in the judgment and opinion.


         SIMON, JUSTICE.

          [¶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.

         [¶2] BACKGROUND

          [¶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 admitted.

          [¶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 " ...

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