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In re Ehd

Supreme Court of Wyoming

November 16, 2017

IN THE INTEREST OF: EHD, Minor Child,
v.
THE STATE OF WYOMING, Appellee (Plaintiff). MMH and LJH, Appellants (Petitioners),

         Appeal from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable Thomas T.C. Campbell, Judge

          Representing Appellants: Douglas W. Bailey, Bailey Stock Harmon Cottam P.C., Cheyenne, Wyoming.

          Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Attorney General; Misha Westby, Deputy Attorney General; Jill E. Kucera, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Christina F. McCabe, Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. McCabe.

          Guardian Ad Litem: Dan S. Wilde, Deputy State Public Defender and Aaron S. Hockman, Chief Trial and Appellate Counsel, Wyoming Guardian Ad Litem Program. Argument by Mr. Hockman.

          Before BURKE, C.J., and HILL, DAVIS, FOX, and KAUTZ, JJ.

          BURKE, Chief Justice.

         [¶1] Appellants, MMH and LJH, appeal from the juvenile court's order denying their motion to intervene in custody proceedings relating to their granddaughter, EHD. Appellants claim the court abused its discretion in denying their motion. They further contend the court erred in denying their requests to be appointed to the multi-disciplinary team and to have EHD placed with them. We affirm.

         ISSUES

         [¶2] Appellants present the following issues:

1. Did the juvenile court abuse its discretion in denying Appellants' request to intervene?
2. Did the juvenile court abuse its discretion in denying Appellants' request to be appointed to the multi-disciplinary team?
3. Did the juvenile court abuse its discretion in denying Appellants' request that EHD be placed with them?

         The State and EHD's guardian ad litem raise the following additional issues:

1. Whether this Court should decline to review Appellants' claim that they were entitled to intervention as a matter of right because they did not raise the issue in the juvenile court.
2. Whether Appellants lack standing to challenge the juvenile court's denial of Appellants' request to be appointed to the multi-disciplinary team and the court's denial of Appellants' request that EHD be placed with them.

         FACTS

         [¶3] On June 18, 2015, EHD's mother, HD ("Mother"), was discovered unconscious in the backseat of her vehicle by law enforcement with a needle protruding from her body. She held EHD in her arms and an empty bottle of rum was within reach. Mother was arrested for driving under the influence and possession of a controlled substance, and EHD was placed in protective custody after efforts to place her with family members failed.

         [¶4] The State filed a petition alleging that Mother had neglected EHD. After a hearing on the State's petition, the juvenile court found that EHD had been neglected. The court ordered that she would remain in the State's custody and that the Department, in consultation with EHD's guardian ad litem, should determine the physical placement of EHD. The court also appointed a multi-disciplinary team ("MDT") to provide recommendations for her care. The team consisted of EHD's foster parents, the guardian ad litem, the Department caseworker, Mother, Mother's attorney, and the district attorney.

         [¶5] The Department placed EHD in foster care. While she was in foster care, Appellants had unsupervised visitation with her in their home. In December 2015, the Department learned that Mother was living in the home and that Appellants were permitting her access to the child without the Department's supervision. From that point on, the Department began supervising ...


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