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In re Ravyn R.

Court of Appeals of Tennessee, Knoxville

April 25, 2018

IN RE: RAVYN R., ET AL.

          Assigned on Briefs April 3, 2018

          Appeal from the Circuit Court for Greene County No. 2016CV437 Alex E. Pearson, Judge

         This is an appeal from an adjudicatory order of the circuit court in a dependency and neglect appeal. Because the order appealed is not a final, appealable judgment, we dismiss the appeal and remand for further proceedings.

         Tenn. R. App. P. 3 Appeal as of Right; Appeal Dismissed and Remanded

          Gerald T. Eidson, Rogersville, Tennessee, for the appellant, Naomi G.

          Herbert H. Slatery III, Attorney General and Reporter and Brian A. Pierce, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children's Services.

          Brandon O. Gibson, J., delivered the opinion of the court, in which Charles D. Susano, Jr., and Richard H. Dinkins, JJ., joined.

          OPINION

          BRANDON O. GIBSON, JUDGE

         I. Facts & Procedural History

         On August 12, 2015, the Tennessee Department of Children's Services filed a petition to adjudicate three children dependent and neglected due to a referral alleging physical abuse by their mother. Mother waived the preliminary hearing. After an adjudicatory hearing on November 18, 2015, the juvenile court entered an order stating that Mother had appeared before the magistrate at the hearing, with her attorney, and "stipulated to dependency and neglect." According to the order, Mother made arrangements for the children to reside with their grandmother. The order stated that the children would remain in the temporary custody of Mother but that Mother was not to remove the children from the grandmother. According to the order, Mother was subject to a no contact order from general sessions court. The juvenile court's order provided that the court would revisit the issue of supervised visitation if the general sessions court lifted the no contact order. After this order was confirmed by the juvenile court judge, it was filed with the juvenile court on December 31, 2015. The order set a review hearing for March 30, 2016.

         After a review hearing, the juvenile court entered an order providing that Mother would be permitted visitation under certain conditions. On June 2, 2016, DCS filed a petition to transfer temporary legal custody of the children to another individual. The body of this petition also asked the juvenile court to find the children dependent and neglected. The juvenile court entered a protective custody order finding probable cause that the children were dependent and neglected and awarding temporary custody to the named individual, but it later set this order aside and ruled that temporary custody would be awarded to the grandmother. Mother was again granted visitation rights under certain conditions.

         After another hearing on September 7, 2016, the juvenile court entered an order providing that the children would remain within the jurisdiction of the court and in the temporary custody of the grandmother, with Mother having visitation. However, the order stated that the children were thriving in their current placement and that the DCS family support services case would be closed. All court-appointed attorneys were relieved of their obligations in the case. The order stated that Mother had the right to repetition the court to have the children returned to her or to appeal. This order was confirmed by the juvenile court judge and filed on October 6, 2016.

         Mother filed a notice of appeal to circuit court seeking to challenge the juvenile court's "final Order of Custody." On appeal, the circuit court held a hearing on April 10, 2017. On April 25, 2017, the circuit court entered a memorandum opinion containing various factual findings regarding the children's circumstances based on the testimony. However, the only legal conclusion stated in the order was the following: "The Court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the three minor children covered by the petition are dependent and neglected within the meaning of the law." Mother filed an appeal to this Court on May 16, 2017.

         II. ...


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