State v. Angie A., 2012AP2240, District 1, 2/20/13; court of appeals decision (1-judge, ineligible for publication); case activity
The state properly brought TPR petition alleging grounds under Wis. Stat. § 48.415(2) (continuing need of protection and services) and § 48.416(6) (failure to assume parental responsibility) instead of § 48.415(3) (continuing parental disability, a ground that specifically targets parents with a mental illness or developmental disability), because the state could and did make a reasonable effort to provide Angie A. the specialized services to which she was entitled, as supported by ample credible evidence:
¶26 Mattie E. [Angie A.’s aunt] testified that Angie A. has consistently been unable to care for Alicia A.’s needs and is often unable to care for her own basic needs. Yvonne Wilson related how Safety Services was called in, developed a plan to assist Angie A., including providing a specialized parenting assistant, and how Angie A. decided she could not take care of Alicia A. and asked Safety Services workers to take her. Goedtel [the case worker] explained to the jury that she had experience with clients who were both mentally ill and had cognitive delays, and although she could communicate with Angie A., it was difficult to provide her with many of the services she needed because she elected to move back to New Orleans. In addition, Goedtel stated that Angie A. did not keep in regular contact with her, and that her psychiatrist in New Orleans reported that Angie A. was not taking her medication, which resulted in her hospitalization several times in 2010. Goedtel further testified that there was nothing else that could have been done to assist Angie A. in reaching the condition of return and the Bureau did everything that the court ordered.
¶27 Perhaps the most damaging testimony came from Dr. Iyamah, who did extensive testing of Angie A. and determined that she had an IQ of 47, which equated with Angie A. needing assistance for her own care. Dr. Iyamah was very firm in her expert opinion that Angie A. could never care for a young infant, as she would not be able to provide a safe environment nor tend to a child’s basic needs. Further, Dr. Iyamah also expressed a belief that, “Given the very chronic and severe nature of all the various factors, [she] didn’t feel that there would be much that would be helpful, if anything,” that the Bureau could have provided by way of services.