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Sufficient evidence supported finding that dad failed to assume parental responsibility for kids

State v. K.L., 2018AP2180-2183, 1/23/19, District 1; (1-judge opinion, ineligible for publication); case activity

After the circuit court terminated K.L.’s parental rights to 4 of his kids, he appealed arguing that the finding that he failed to assume parental responsibility for his kids was clearly erroneous. The circuit court focused only on the period after the kids were removed from home not on his actions throughout their lives. The court of appeals disagreed:

¶11     In fact, the record shows the opposite. The record details the lives of four children who were to a shocking degree deprived of daily supervision, education, protection and care—despite years of extensive services to K.L. and his wife. Aside from his conclusory statement, K.L. points to no evidence to the contrary. He describes no specific instances that demonstrate his exercise of significant responsibility toward the children, at any time, before or after removal. As the trial court specifically noted, the evidence presented showed that the children were subjected to severe domestic violence, substance abuse, medical neglect, and educational neglect, all of which occurred while K.L. was in the home and before the children were removed. The evidence showed that in the period after the children were removed, K.L. participated in visits without interaction with the children and did not wish to spend more than two hours per week with them.

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