Is it right to terminate a mother's right to her child when she is not the cause of his behavioral problems? This was the issue in In the Interest of B.T. B.T. had severe behavioral problems which included head-butting, growling and jumping out of moving cars. He was placed in foster or residential care since February 2002. When he was released from a behavioral care facility his mother refused to take custody of him because she believed she could not take care of him. He was then placed into a residential care facility. Mom entered into a service plan whereby she was to visit B.T., provide financial support for him, and participate in parenting classes and therapy. Additional services were ordered in June 2003, October 2003, February 2004, October 2004 and January 2005. She was still not able to care for B.T. after all the services had been provided. The juvenile court sought to terminate her parental rights in April 2005. From May 2005 to June 2006 the mother had not seen B.T., communicated with him, or provided financial support for him. The court made findings that included that although the mother was not responsible for B.T.'s behavior, she must be able to care for him. The court terminated the mother's parental rights and she appealed on the grounds that there were not clear, cogent and convincing evidence to support the termination.
The appellate court found that the trial court was correct in terminating the mother's parental rights under section 211.447. It specifically found that the mother had abandoned B.T. by not visiting with him, communicating with him, or providing financial support for him for the period of May 2005 to June 2006. She also neglected him by refusing his custody when he was initially released from the behavioral facility, by visiting infrequently and failure to communicate and provide for his support for over a year. The appellate court also found that even though the mother had complied with the service plan and had exhausted all available social services, she was still unable to care for B.T. and she must be able to do that. The mother had failed to rectify the situation regarding her care of B.T. The termination of her parental rights was upheld.
Source: In the Interest of B.T., ED88445, (Mo. App. E.D. 03/06/2007)