from the Circuit Court of the 10th Judicial Circuit, Tazewell
County, Illinois. Circuit No. 09-JA-128 The Honorable Kirk D.
Schoenbein, Judge, presiding.
PRESIDING JUSTICE delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Justices O'Brien and Schmidt concurred in the
judgment and opinion.
1 In the context of a juvenile neglect proceeding,
respondent, Jeremie G., filed a supplemental petition to
reinstate wardship (petition) over his minor child, L.W., so
that respondent could establish that he was no longer
dispositionally unfit as a parent. The State and the
Department of Children and Family Services (DCFS) opposed
respondent's petition, and the guardian ad litem
(GAL) for the minor child supported the petition. After a
hearing, the trial court denied the petition. Respondent
appeals. We affirm the trial court's judgment.
3 Respondent and Sonja W. were the biological parents of the
minor child, L.W., who was born in September 2007. In
September 2009, the State filed a juvenile petition alleging
that L.W. was a neglected minor due to an injurious
environment. After hearings were held on the petition, the
trial court found that L.W. was a neglected minor, made L.W.
a ward of the court, found that respondent was
dispositionally unfit as a parent, found that Sonja W. was
dispositionally fit as a parent, and awarded guardianship of
L.W. to DCFS. L.W.'s placement was kept with Sonja W.
4 At the first and second permanency review hearings in
September 2010 and May 2011, at which respondent did not
appear, the trial court found that respondent had not made
reasonable efforts or progress due to a lack of interest and
cooperation and that respondent was still unfit as a parent.
At the conclusion of the May 2011 hearing, the trial court
returned guardianship of the child to Sonja W., terminated
wardship, and closed the case.
5 More than five years later, in December 2016, respondent
filed a pro se petition to restore his fitness as a
parent. The trial court appointed an attorney for respondent.
In February 2017, respondent's attorney filed a
supplemental petition to reinstate wardship (the petition at
issue in the present case) pursuant to section 2-33(1) of the
Juvenile Court Act of 1987 (Act) (705 ILCS 405/2-33(1) (West
2016)), which provided, in pertinent part, that:
"(1) Any time prior to a minor's 18th birthday,
pursuant to a supplemental petition filed under this Section,
the court may reinstate wardship and open a previously closed
(a) wardship and guardianship under the Juvenile Court Act of
1987 was vacated in conjunction with the appointment of a
private guardian under the Probate Act of 1975;
(b) the minor is not presently a ward of the court under
Article II of this Act nor is there a petition for
adjudication of wardship pending on behalf of the minor; and
(c) it is in the minor's best interest that wardship be
reinstated." 705 ILCS 405/2-33(1) (West 2016).
alleged in the petition that, after warship was terminated in
the present case, he had completed several services and had
put himself in a position to be found dispositionally fit as
a parent. Respondent alleged further that he had maintained
his relationship with L.W., he had continued to have regular
supervised visits with L.W., and it was in L.W.'s best
interest to reinstate wardship. Respondent also sought leave
to file a motion for a finding of fitness, which respondent
had attached to the petition, if the trial court granted
respondent's petition to reinstate wardship.
6 The State filed a response, alleging that the trial court
did not have jurisdiction to rule upon the petition because
the facts in this particular case did not comply with the
requirements of section 2-33(1)(a) of the Act. DCFS filed a
motion to dismiss respondent's petition on ...