from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Peoria
County, Illinois. Circuit No. 17-JA-49 Honorable Katherine S.
Gorman Hubler, Judge, Presiding.
JUSTICE SCHMIDT delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Carter and Justice McDade
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 After a dispositional hearing, respondent, Daniel S.,
appeals, arguing that it was against the manifest weight of
the evidence for the court to take wardship of D.S.
Respondent also alleges the court abused its discretion in
naming the Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS)
guardian. We affirm.
3 Respondent is the father of D.S. On February 28, 2017, DCFS
filed a petition alleging D.S. was a neglected minor in that
her environment was injurious to her welfare. The petition
stated that on December 14, 2016, D.S.'s mother, Chiquita
J., had left D.S.'s siblings in the care of their
14-year-old sibling while she left the state. On December 15,
2016, DCFS contacted Chiquita, who stated that she would
return on December 16, 2016. Chiquita did not return on that
day and was uncooperative. A petition had previously been
filed alleging that D.S.'s siblings were neglected, which
did not name respondent and is not the subject of this
appeal. The petition further included the criminal history of
Chiquita and respondent. The petition listed respondent's
criminal history as:
" '09 Battery; '09 Domestic Battery; '11
Illegal Possess/ Consume Liquor Public Way; '14 Domestic
Battery; '14 Criminal Trespass to Land; '15 Resisting
Police; '17 Criminal Trespass to Land; '17 Illegal
Possess/ Consume Liquor Public Way; and is pending '17
Theft (Felony) (2 Counts); and '17 Financial Transaction
and Fraud-Use Forged and Possession of Burglary or Theft
petition further proposed that an order of protection be
entered, which would read:
"Minor to reside with father, [respondent], and all
contact between minor and mother shall be supervised by
agency. Mother shall not enter the minor's home. Father
shall use no illegal substances or alcohol. Father shall
submit to random drop testing or [B]reathalyzer at least two
(2) times per month which DCFS shall set up and inform
State's Attorney's Office of all missed and positive
drops. All caretakers shall have prior DCFS approval."
4 On March 6, 2017, the respondent was served in court and
presented a voluntary acknowledgement of paternity. The court
granted the order of protection contained in the petition.
Respondent filed an answer to the petition on March 15, 2017,
stating that he lacked sufficient knowledge regarding the
allegations of the petition, but did not demand strict proof.
5 An adjudicatory hearing was held on March 29, 2017. The
State presented a detailed proffer regarding the allegations
in the petition, including respondent's criminal history,
stating that the pending 2017 felony theft was now a
conviction for misdemeanor theft. Respondent only disputed
the 2017 charge for financial transaction and fraud-use
forged and possession of burglary or theft tools that was
pending in Minnesota, stating that he did not believe that
was him. The court found the petition proven by a
preponderance of the evidence, except for the pending
Minnesota charge against respondent. The court further found
that respondent did not contribute to the injurious
6 On April 19, 2017, the court held a dispositional hearing.
Respondent testified that, other than the 2017 conviction for
illegal possession and consumption of liquor on a public way,
he had not recently abused alcohol or illegal substances.
7 The dispositional report stated that D.S. was born on
February 22, 2017, and lived with respondent in an apartment
along with respondent's brother. Respondent was
unemployed and cared for D.S. full time, took D.S. to all her
appointments, and cooperated with the caseworker regarding
the assessment and visitation. Respondent's mother helped
babysit if necessary. The report stated that Chiquita
"reported that she and [respondent] have a good
relationship. She plans to continue the relationship, but
stressed they do not live together. She expressed concern
regarding the current DCFS involvement and stated that they
will not live together so, if necessary, he can retain
custody of [D.S.] at birth." However, respondent stated
"that he and [Chiquita] are 'ok', but he does
not talk to her except for a little bit at court and visits
when he is dropping [D.S.] off."
8 A police report showed that respondent and Chiquita were
arrested together on January 25, 2017, for credit card fraud
and possession of stolen property. They told the ...