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Circuit court properly found parent failed to meet conditions of CHIPS order

Dane County DHS v. Connie H., 2015AP552, District 4, 8/20/15 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

The circuit court properly exercised it discretion when it denied Connie’s petition to revise a CHIPS dispositional order to lift a suspension of visits with her son, K.H.

Connie first argues it was an erroneous exercise of the circuit court’s discretion to deny her request to revise the CHIPS dispositional order because the evidence  established that she had satisfied, to the best of her ability, each of the conditions set for the reinstatement of her visitation with K.H. Reviewing the evidence presented (¶¶15-16), the court of appeals concludes that the testimony of Connie’s therapist and Connie’s case worker supports the circuit court’s determination that Connie failed to show she met one particular condition—namely, that she is able to provide support to K.H. around his past trauma. (¶17).

The court also rejects Connie’s argument that, under Kenosha Cty. DHS v. Jodie W., 2006 WI 93, ¶¶41-49, 293 Wis. 2d 530, 716 N.W.2d 845, the denial of her visitation request violated due process because it was impossible for her to meet that condition. Assuming without deciding Jodie W. applies to conditions imposed for the reinstatement of visitation rights and that it extends to situations other than incarceration, Connie has not demonstrated that the conditions the circuit court determined she failed to meet were “impossible.” (¶22).

¶23     Connie asserts that the conditions were out of her “control” because, although “she had done everything within her control to comply with the conditions for reinstatement,” it wasn’t enough…. Connie has not made a showing that there is nothing more she is capable of doing in order to meet all the conditions…. Nor has Connie cited this court to any legal authority supporting her argument that a parent’s substantive due process rights are violated where a circuit court finds, as the court did in this case, that the parent failed to make a sufficient showing that the conditions have not yet been fully met.

¶24     Connie also asserts that the “conditions were all impossible for [her] to achieve [because] they all depended upon K.H.’s therapist permitting [her] to do certain things.” However, Connie does not explain what “certain things” K.H’s therapist must permit her to do in order to satisfy the conditions for reinstatement of her visits, nor has she argued that the therapist has unreasonably refused to permit Connie to do those “things.”

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