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State ex rel. Children, Youth & Families Dept.

Court of Appeals of New Mexico
47 P.3d 859 (2002)


Patricia H. (defendant) was Elizabeth’s mother. Upon Patricia’s request, when Elizabeth was only four and a half years old, the Children, Youth & Families Department (CYFD) (plaintiff) took custody of Elizabeth. Elizabeth was a rebellious child, required highly skilled parenting, and had been taken care of poorly by Patricia. Patricia was having a difficult time and was battling serious illnesses, including a thyroid disorder and breast cancer. At the time CYFD took initial custody of Elizabeth, the court entered a stipulation, which is an agreement between parties as to a relevant issue within a legal proceeding. The contents of a stipulation may serve as the basis for a judicial ruling without the court’s weighing evidence relating to the stipulated issue. Initially, Patricia had scheduled visits with Elizabeth, but the visits did not go well. Nine months after CYFD took custody of Elizabeth, the court held a permanency hearing. At the hearing, the court determined that Elizabeth should stay with CYFD, but she should eventually return home to Patricia. The court held a second permanency hearing a few months later, and the court ordered CYFD to continue implementing Patricia’s treatment plan. Sometime later, after Elizabeth had been in CYFD custody for two and a half years, the district court held a hearing and terminated Patricia’s parental rights to Elizabeth. Patricia appealed, alleging that CYFD did not make reasonable efforts to assist her in curing the issues that caused her to neglect Elizabeth.

Rule of Law


Holding and Reasoning (Bosson, C.J.)

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