Sunday, December 8, 2013

In re A.H. case brief

In re A.H. case brief summary
842 A.2d 674 (2004)


CASE SYNOPSIS
Appellant mother sought review from a judgment entered by the Superior Court of the District of Columbia, Family Division, that the mother neglected respondents, her five small children, by allowing them to live in an unsafe and unsanitary home environment.

CASE FACTS
The mother argued that the evidence of deplorable conditions was insufficient to support the judge's findings of neglect.

DISCUSSION

  • The appellate court held that the evidence was sufficient to support the neglect findings. 
  • There was credible evidence of deplorably unsanitary and unsafe living conditions over several months. 
  • The ever-present filth, the lack of heat, refrigeration, and plumbing, the reliance on the oven to warm the apartment, coupled with the mother's nonchalant attitude toward these problems, exposed the children to substantial risks of serious harm. 
  • The mother did not present any evidence to rebut the inference that the public assistance she received was adequate. 
  • To the contrary, she claimed to be able to support her family, and there was no evidence that her children were malnourished or unhealthy. 
  • The mother's long-term failures to exert herself to keep feces off the floor, to dispose of rotten food and other trash, to clean the kitchen, and to complain and demand that maintenance and repairs and exterminations be performed properly were not caused by her lack of money. 
  • The trial court had a duty to protect the children's best interests by finding them neglected.
CONCLUSION
The judgment was affirmed.

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