Assigned on Briefs April 3, 2017
from the Circuit Court for Cumberland County No. 2016-CV-6081
Jonathan L. Young, Judge
circuit court adjudicated a child dependent and neglected
because her mother's mental incapacity rendered the
Mother unfit to properly care for the child. Upon review, we
conclude that the circuit court's decision is supported
by clear and convincing evidence, and thus, we affirm.
R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right Judgment of the Circuit Court
Cynthia S. Lyons, Cookeville, Tennessee, for the appellant,
Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter, and W.
Derek Green, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee,
Tennessee Department of Children's Services.
Cynthia Fields Davis, Crossville, Tennessee, Guardian Ad
Neal McBrayer, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in
which John W. McClarty and Arnold B. Goldin, JJ., joined.
NEAL McBRAYER, JUDGE
juvenile court adjudicated her child dependent and neglected,
the child's mother, Renee R. ("Mother"),
appealed to the Circuit Court for Cumberland County,
Tennessee. The court conducted a de novo hearing on July 6
and September 13, 2016. The following proof was presented.
September 21, 2015, Cumberland County law enforcement
performed a welfare check on Yvonne R., at the request of her
father, who lived out of state. At the time, 11 year-old
Yvonne was at home with Mother. When law enforcement arrived,
the officers discovered that Mother and Yvonne had been
involved in an altercation and that Mother had hit the child
three times with a plastic jump rope. The officers saw raised
marks on the child's arm and thigh. Mother admitted that
she had struck the child, and when interviewed, Yvonne
reported she had been hit before. When the officers attempted
to place Mother under arrest, she became "very agitated,
" kicked one of the officers, and otherwise refused to
cooperate. Ultimately, Mother was arrested for child abuse,
domestic violence, and resisting arrest and was taken to
her arrest, a protective order was issued prohibiting any
contact between Mother and the child. Mother had sole custody
of Yvonne; she had never married Yvonne's father, Charles
M. ("Father"). Because Mother reported that she had
no friends or family members in Tennessee, the Tennessee
Department of Children's Services ("DCS") took
emergency custody of the child that same day. See
Tenn. Code Ann. § 37-1-113 (2014).
investigator interviewed Mother and Yvonne on the day of the
incident. The investigator saw the welts left by the jump
rope and heard Yvonne's description of
events. According to Yvonne, Mother typically hit
her one to three times a week. The DCS investigator testified
that Mother told several versions of the events before
finally claiming that she only struck the child in
the protective order was lifted, DCS arranged for Mother to
have supervised visitation with Yvonne at the DCS offices.
Mother arrived for her first visit on October 20, 2015. Even
though she was informed that it was not possible, Mother
repeatedly insisted that Yvonne was coming home that day.
While it was apparent that both Mother and Yvonne were happy
to see each other, Mother spent the visit pressuring Yvonne
to write ...