Court of Appeals of Illinois, First District, Sixth Division
In re J.S., a Minor The People of the State of Illinois, Petitioner-Appellee,
Cynthia S., Respondent-Appellant.
from the Circuit Court of Cook County, No. 17-JA-1046; the
Hon. Nicholas Geanopoulos, Judge, presiding.
Campanelli, Public Defender, of Chicago (Greg Koster,
Assistant Public Defender, of counsel), for appellant.
Kimberly M. Foxx, State's Attorney, of Chicago (Alan J.
Spellberg, Gina DiVito, and Leslie Billings, Assistant
State's Attorneys, of counsel), for the People.
Charles P. Golbert, Public Guardian, of Chicago (Kass A.
Plain and Mary Brigid Hayes, of counsel), guardian ad litem.
JUSTICE HARRIS delivered the judgment of the court, with
opinion. Presiding Justice Delort and Justice Connors
concurred in the judgment and opinion.
1 Respondent, Cynthia S., appeals the circuit court's
determination that it had jurisdiction to rule on the
State's petition for adjudication of wardship under the
Uniform Child-Custody Jurisdiction and Enforcement Act
(UCCJEA) (750 ILCS 36/201 (West 2016)). On appeal, Cynthia
contends the trial court erred in finding it had jurisdiction
where she had established her residency in Indiana when J.S.
was born. For the following reasons, we affirm.
3 After a finding of neglect, the trial court adjudicated
J.S. a ward of the court on December 4, 2018. Cynthia filed a
notice of appeal that same day. Accordingly, this court has
jurisdiction pursuant to Illinois Supreme Court Rule 301
(eff. Feb. 1, 1994) and Rule 303 (eff. July 1, 2017),
governing appeals from final judgments entered below.
5 J.S. was born on September 24, 2017, at University Health
Methodist Hospital (Methodist Hospital) in Indianapolis,
Indiana. On October 11, 2017, the State filed a petition for
adjudication of wardship, alleging neglect due to an
injurious environment and abuse due to substantial risk of
physical injury. In support, the petition stated that
J.S.'s mother, Cynthia, has three children not in her
care. One child is under private guardianship following a
finding of neglect in 2006. Two children are currently under
the care of the Department of Children and Family Services
(DCFS) in Illinois after findings of neglect and abuse were
entered on January 24, 2014. Their foster parent is
Cynthia's grandmother. Cynthia was offered mental health,
abuse, and parenting services, but she had not successfully
completed those services.
6 On November 21, 2017, the trial court appointed a public
defender to represent Cynthia. The assistant public defender
objected, arguing the court had no jurisdiction because J.S.
was not currently in, or had ever been in, Chicago. The
petition was amended to reflect that J.S. had never left the
hospital where she was born. At the adjudication hearing, the
court allowed testimony by DCFS caseworker Belinda Childs
regarding the jurisdiction issue.
7 Childs testified that she has been the caseworker for
J.S.'s siblings since July 2017. They came into the
system as a result of inadequate supervision, and they reside
in Illinois. The contact information for Cynthia she had was
at "115 and Elizabeth" in Chicago, and her phone
number had a 312 area code. Childs testified that Cynthia did
not complete her drug treatment program or individual therapy
or parenting services. Referrals were based in Illinois, and
visitation occurred in Illinois.
8 On July 31, 2017, Childs called Cynthia at a
"773" phone number regarding a referral for anger
management services at "Knock at Midnight," a place
in Chicago. She also discussed Cynthia's pregnancy,
informing her that because her other children were in care,
the new baby would come into care as well. Cynthia told
Childs that she was not having the baby in Illinois and
refused to provide her due date. On August 14, 2017, Cynthia
contacted Childs regarding a referral for anger management
services, telling her the building was closed. Cynthia did
not indicate she was living anywhere other than Chicago.
9 On September 24, 2017, Cynthia left a voicemail for Childs
stating that she was in a hospital giving birth to a girl but
no location was provided. On October 2, 2017, Childs spoke
with Cynthia, and Cynthia told her she had not yet given
birth and the due date was October 9. Cynthia further stated
that DCFS would not get her baby and she was moving to
Arizona. At the time, Childs's agency was recommending
that temporary custody of J.S. be taken because Cynthia had
not completed services for her other children and J.S. would
be at risk of harm if released to her. Childs subsequently
learned that J.S. was born on September 24, 2017, at
Methodist Hospital in Indianapolis. DCFS was granted
temporary custody of J.S. on October 11, ...