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In re PB

54 A.3d 660 (2012)

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In re PB

District of Columbia Court of Appeals

54 A.3d 660 (2012)

Facts

LB (defendant) had three children, a six-year-old, a two-year-old, and a one-month-old. LB was paranoid and often believed that there was a conspiracy against her or that someone was out to get her. LB was also frequently hostile, agitated, and aggressive and tended to overreact to situations. LB’s home was filthy, the children appeared hungry and frail, and the children’s clothing was commonly dirty and sometimes smelled like urine. The six-year-old, PB, had missed so much school that he was in danger of failing. A Maryland court had ordered LB to cooperate with social-services workers if she wanted to maintain custody of the two-year-old, DB. But LB was hostile to the workers, accused them of stalking her, and hid from them. LB then moved to the District of Columbia (D.C.), where she did not enroll PB in school. A D.C. child-services worker made multiple attempts to visit LB to check on the children. Eventually, the worker asked police officers to help conduct a check. LB accused the officers of being Muslim attackers and laughed and cursed at the officials. LB refused to discuss the children’s safety or to allow the officials to inspect the home. The child-services worker immediately removed the children from the home and placed them in foster care, alleging that the children had been neglected. LB was granted supervised visits, but she exhibited erratic behavior during the visits. At a hearing on the child-neglect allegations, significant evidence was presented that (1) LB had mental-health issues, (2) these mental-health issues impaired LB’s ability to care for her children, and (3) LB’s children had been living in filth and hunger and deprived of education. The court ruled that the children had been neglected. LB appealed.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Oberly, J.)

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