The Minnesota Supreme Court in July affirmed a decision by the Court of Appeals against a Wheaton mother who had a child taken away from her home by Child Protection Services. The woman, identified in court documents only as JDT, was petitioning the court to change her legal papers to indicate that she “voluntarily” gave up custody of the child rather than its current wording stating that she “involuntarily” relinquished parental care. The wording would affect future court proceedings involving her other children. In legal jargon, if someone has “involuntarily” had their children taken away, they are considered “palpably unfit” to be a parent in the future.
The case goes back to 2015, when Pope County protection services got involved in transferring custody of JDT’s oldest child to the biological father. She shortly thereafter gave birth to another child, who was removed by the county due to the presence of drugs in the home. The child was returned some months later, and another baby came about a year after. Then in May 2018, Grant County social services got a child protection report of methamphetamine use and a 9 month old child tested positive for meth. The County contended that JDT did not follow her case plan and failed to correct the conditions that led to the out-of-home placement despite their attempts at reunification. The Court of Appeals sided with the County, and now the Supreme Court has affirmed their decisions.