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In re S.H.

Court of Appeals of Illinois, Third District

February 15, 2018

In re S.H. and N.W., Minors
v.
Secreia R., Respondent-Appellant. The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,

          Rule 23 order filed January 16, 2018

          Motion to publish allowed February 15, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court of Peoria County, Nos. 17-JA-3, 17-JA-4; the Hon. Katherine S. Gorman Hubler, Judge, presiding.

          Sam Snyder, of Peoria, for appellant

          Jerry Brady, State's Attorney, of Peoria (Patrick Delfino, Lawrence M. Bauer, and Thomas D. Arado, of State's Attorneys Appellate Prosecutor's Office, of counsel), for the People.

          Louise M. Natonek, of Peoria, guardian ad litem.

          Panel PRESIDING JUSTICE CARTER delivered the judgment of the court, with opinion. Justices Schmidt and Wright concurred in the judgment and opinion.

          OPINION

          CARTER PRESIDING JUSTICE

         ¶ 1 Respondent, Secreia R., appeals, arguing the circuit court failed to sufficiently articulate a basis for its determination that respondent was unfit. We affirm.

         ¶ 2 FACTS

         ¶ 3 The State filed two petitions for adjudication of wardship regarding respondent's children, S.H. and N.W. However, before discussing these petitions, we first discuss the related petitions that were previously filed regarding respondent's other children. Those petitions were pending and ongoing at the time the State filed the wardship petitions that are the subject of this appeal.

         ¶ 4 The petitions for adjudication of wardship in the related cases alleged that respondent's other children were neglected in that they lived in an injurious environment. The petitions alleged several instances of domestic violence between respondent and Lance R. (N.W.'s father), which occurred in the presence of the children. The petitions also alleged Lance's criminal history including drug convictions and domestic violence convictions.

         ¶ 5 The adjudicatory order entered in the related cases reflected that the children were found neglected due to an injurious environment, and the dispositional order shows that respondent was found unfit based on the allegations of past domestic violence and respondent's attitude as to how it affected the children. Respondent was ordered to obtain a drug and alcohol assessment, perform two random drug drops per month, and complete counseling to address several issues, including choice of partner, relational conflict, and anger. This cause continued to permanency review hearings and remained ongoing at the time the State filed the petitions that are the subject of this appeal.

         ¶ 6 The petitions for adjudication of wardship that are the subject of this case alleged the same instances of domestic abuse between respondent and Lance that were alleged in the already ongoing proceedings in the earlier cases. However, the petitions in this case involved respondent's two other children, S.H. and N.W.[1] The petitions in this case included the additional allegation that respondent was previously found unfit as to her other children and that there had been no subsequent finding of fitness in the other proceedings. The petitions alleged that respondent had not ...


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