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TPR — continuing CHIPS; sufficiency of the evidence that parent will likely not meet the required conditions for return of the child

Kenosha County DHS v. Debra S.A., 2013AP318, District 2, 7/24/13; court of appeals decision (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

In a fact-dependent decision that applies the well-established sufficiency standard (¶10), the court concludes the evidence at the fact-finding hearing permitted the trier of fact to conclude that Debra had not complied with requirements that she actively participate in mental health services and successfully complete and demonstrate an understanding of the principles taught in a parenting program and that she would not meet these conditions within nine months. (¶¶11-12).

The court declines to address Debra’s argument that it was improper for a social worker to give opinion testimony at the fact-finding hearing about the likelihood Debra would meet the conditions for return of her child. Trial counsel did not object to the testimony and, while Debra raised the issue in a postdisposition motion that alleged trial counsel was ineffective for failing to object, Debra did not argue in her brief-in-chief that the trial court erred in rejecting the ineffective claim. Accordingly, the court concludes the issue has been abandoned. (¶¶7-9). For good measure, the court concludes Debra would not be able to prove prejudice even if the argument hadn’t been abandoned. (¶9 n.3).

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