Attorney(s) appearing for the Case
Law Office of H. Clark Jones, LLC, Mesa, By Clark Jones , Counsel for Appellant.
Arizona Attorney General's Office, Phoenix, By JoAnn Falgout , Counsel for Appellee Department of Child Safety.
Chief Judge Michael J. Brown delivered the decision of the Court, in which Judge Kent E. Cattani and Judge Margaret H. Downie joined.
NOT FOR OFFICIAL PUBLICATION
UNDER ARIZONA RULE OF THE SUPREME COURT 111(c), THIS DECISION IS NOT PRECEDENTIAL AND MAY BE CITED ONLY AS AUTHORIZED BY RULE.
BROWN, Chief Judge.
¶1 Jack S. ("Father") appeals the juvenile court's dependency order. Father argues the court erred because reasonable evidence does not support a finding that he suffers from antisocial personality disorder or mental illness that impairs his ability to parent his two children, A.S. and I.H. The Department of Child Safety ("DCS") concedes the error, but requests that we remand the matter for further proceedings concerning I.H. Father does not object to DCS's request.
¶2 A "dependent child" is one who is "[i]n need of proper and effective parental care and control and who has no parent . . . willing to exercise or capable of exercising such care and control." Ariz. Rev. Stat. ("A.R.S.") § 8-201(15)(a)(i). We review a dependency finding for abuse of discretion and will affirm the court's finding unless no reasonable evidence supports it. Louis C. v. Dep't of Child Safety, 237 Ariz. 484, 488, ¶ 12 (App. 2015).
¶3 In December 2015, DCS filed a dependency petition alleging Father was unfit to parent due to abuse and mental illness. See A.R.S. § 8-201(15)(a)(i), (iii). Father participated in a psychological evaluation with Dr. Mary Oakley in July 2016. At the dependency hearing several weeks later, Dr. Oakley testified that there was "no indication of a mental illness, thought disorder, psychosis, [substance] abuse, mental deficiency, or mental retardation." Although Dr. Oakley testified Father has "features of anti-social personality," he does not meet the "full criteria for a diagnosis." Dr. Oakley explained further that possessing antisocial personality features alone "is in no way indicative of anybody's ability to parent a child." Her only recommendation was that Father receive counseling.
¶4 The juvenile court found A.S. and I.H. dependent because Father was unfit to parent based on Father's failure to properly treat his mental health issues. Given Dr. Oakley's testimony, as well as DCS's concession, the record lacks sufficient evidence showing that Father suffers from a mental illness or other mental disorder that makes him unfit to parent. We therefore vacate the court's dependency finding as to A.S. and I.H.
¶5 Consistent with the parties' request, and recognizing the juvenile court's finding that "[I.H.] is presently in a therapeutic group home, suffers from mental illness, requires mental health treatment, suffers from both prescription and illegal drug use and abuse and is undergoing treatment," we remand for further proceedings as to I.H.