The Appellate Group

In re M.M.

In re M.M., 2023 UT App 95 (Christiansen Forster, J.)

Child Welfare

Child was adjudicated a sibling at risk after the juvenile court concluded Child’s brother had been abused while in Mother’s care. After an eight-day bench trial, Mother’s rights to Child were terminated. Mother appealed, arguing the court erred in refusing to order reunifications services and in its determination that it was strictly necessary to terminate her rights. The Utah Court of Appeals affirmed, holding:

  • The court did not abuse its discretion in denying reunification services because it considered Mother’s previous failure to respond to reunification services and Mother’s history of abuse.
  • There was no feasible option for a permanent guardianship placement because Mother violated the safety plan.
  • Judicial tip: Juvenile courts should record the analytic steps taken when making fact-sensitive decisions.

Read the full court opinion