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In re Destiny W.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Nashville

April 30, 2015

IN RE DESTINY W.

Assigned on Briefs December 5, 2014

Appeal from the Juvenile Court for Wilson County No. 14777 Charles B. Tatum, Judge

W. Michael Kilgore, Nashville, Tennessee (on appeal), Karen Parker Casey, Lebanon, Tennessee (at trial), for the appellant, Erica W.

Elizabeth L. Youmans, Lebanon, Tennessee, Guardian ad Litem.

W. Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the Court, in which Frank G. Clement, Jr., P.J., M.S., and Andy D. Bennett, J., joined.

OPINION

W. NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE

I. Factual and Procedural Background

On May 31, 2012, a Child Protective Services Investigator (the "Investigator") with the Department of Children's Services in Wilson County, received a referral regarding Destiny W. The Investigator found Erica W. ("Mother"), Mother's friend, and Destiny W. at a hotel.[1] The investigator had to knock several times before the door was answered by Mother's friend. Once the door was opened, the Investigator asked to speak with Mother, who was sleeping in a bed with Destiny.

The Investigator, with some difficulty, roused Mother. The Investigator explained that there had been a complaint that Mother and her friend were under the influence of intoxicants, and they would need to submit to drug screens. The Investigator recalled that both Mother and her friend were sluggish, slurring their words, and "glossy-eyed." Mother ultimately tested positive for benzodiazepines and opiates. Mother stated that she had a prescription for some medication, but she did not have the bottles with her, claiming she had been kicked out of her home.

Following the positive drug screen, the Investigator determined that a "safety placement" was needed for the child. The Investigator began exploring individuals named by Mother as possible caretakers for Destiny, who was ten and one-half weeks old at the time. On June 8, 2012, DCS filed a petition to transfer temporary legal custody to family friends.

The trial court entered a protective custody order on June 11, 2012. In this order, the juvenile court found probable cause to believe that Destiny was dependent and neglected. The order included the following list of tasks for Mother to complete:

7.[Mother] shall provide a safe, stable and drug-free home for her children.
8. [Mother] shall complete an Alcohol and Drug Assessment and shall comply with all recommendations. Mother shall attend one appointment per week and shall provide the Department with proof of her attendance.
9.[Mother] shall submit to random drug screens and remain negative for all substances other than those legally prescribed to her.
10. [Mother] shall obtain a Parenting Assessment and shall follow the recommendations of that assessment.
11.[Mother] shall be provided with supervised visitation and contact of her children that shall be supervised by [guardians] . ...

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