In the Interest of C.A.L, A10A2557
*All courts mentioned are at the state level.
Facts and Trial Court:
- After hearing evidence from DFACS and a clinical psychologist about the minor child’s (C.A.L)’s abuse at the hands of Father, stepmother, and cousins on Father’s side, the trial court concluded that the child was deprived under the definition set forth in O.C.G.A. § 15-11-2, and awarded custody to Mother.
Court of Appeals:
- Standard of Review: Viewed in light most favorable to lower court, whether trier of fact could have found by clear and convincing evidence that the child was deprived. Does not weigh evidence or determine credibility of witnesses.
- Father’s enumeration of error: There was no clear and convincing evidence of who was responsible for CAL’s abuse.
- The definition of deprived child focuses on the needs of the child not parental fault. The petition is brought on behalf of the child and concerns the child’s welfare, not who is responsible for the conditions which amount to deprivation.
- Evidence showed that CAL was inappropriately touched and suffered from sexual abuse, which contributed to her developing post-traumatic stress disorder, so trial court’s finding of deprivation was supported by the record.
- A juvenile court is authorized to find a lack of proper parental care or control based on a parent’s failure to protect his or her child from injury.
- Joseph W. Jones (Public Defender’s Ofc.) for appellant
- Samuel S. Olens (Attorney General)
- Shalen S. Nelson (Sr. Asst. Atty. Gen.)
- Penny Hannah (Asst. Atty. Gen.)
- Linda B. Taylor (Hunnicutt & Taylor) for appellee
Coweta Juvenile Court, Judge Joseph P. MacNabb