IN THE MATTER OF THE TERMINATION OF PARENTAL RIGHTS TO: KCS and MRH, minor children.
STATE OF WYOMING, DEPARTMENT OF FAMILY SERVICES, Appellee (Petitioner). CHASTITY LEANN GILLEN, f/k/a CHASTITY LEANN STRONG, Appellant (Respondent),
from the District Court of Laramie County The Honorable
Steven K. Sharpe, Judge
Representing Appellant: Abigail E. Fournier, Steiner Law,
LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming; Donna D. Domonkos, Domonkos Law
Office, LLC, Cheyenne, Wyoming. Argument by Ms. Domonkos.
Representing Appellee: Peter K. Michael, Wyoming Attorney
General; Misha Westby, Deputy Attorney General; Jill E.
Kucera, Senior Assistant Attorney General; Shawnna M. Lamb,
Senior Assistant Attorney General. Argument by Ms. Lamb.
Representing Guardian Ad Litem: Dan S. Wilde, Deputy State
Public Defender; Aaron S. Hockman, Chief Trial and Appellate
Counsel, Wyoming Guardian ad Litem Program, A division of the
Office of the State Public Defender, Cheyenne, Wyoming.
Appearance by Mr. Hockman.
DAVIS, C.J., and FOX, KAUTZ, BOOMGAARDEN, and GRAY, JJ.
Chastity Leann Gillen (Mother), appeals the district
court's order terminating her parental rights to her
children, MRH and KCS. We affirm.
Mother's issues are consolidated as:
Whether there was clear and convincing evidence to support
the jury's finding that Mother's parental rights
should be terminated.
The State filed a petition to terminate Mother's parental
rights on May 6, 2016. A four-day jury trial began on October 17,
2017. At that time, MRH was five and a half years old and had
been in foster care for 62 months. KCS was four and a half
years old and had been in foster care for 55 months. The
juvenile proceedings in this case-two neglect cases involving
MRH and a neglect case involving KCS-began much earlier in
MRH's and KCS's lives.
When MRH was born, concerns with Mother's alcohol and
cannabis use, as well as Mother's and Father's
turbulent relationship, caused the Department of Family
Services (DFS) to open an assessment case to monitor the
family. DFS hoped to prevent any need to take MRH into
protective custody. DFS's early efforts proved
unsuccessful when, after Cheyenne police responded to a
welfare request and found MRH unattended in a house where
Mother and several other adults were severely intoxicated,
DFS took six-week-old MRH into temporary protective custody.
Following a shelter care hearing, the court placed MRH in the
State's legal custody, but returned physical custody to
Mother on the condition there be no alcohol or sex offenders
in the home. MRH returned to foster care a few months later
after Mother left MRH with a babysitter and went to
Father's house to consume alcohol. Shortly thereafter,
the State dismissed this neglect action, and Mother regained
custody of MRH.
DFS again took MRH into protective custody a few weeks later,
when police responded to a call and found Mother near a
Cheyenne park with a head injury, intoxicated, and alleging
she had been attacked. She claimed someone stole MRH. Police
found MRH with a friend of Mother who had asked Mother to
leave the baby with her out of concern Mother was too
intoxicated to take care of the child. In addition to
arresting Mother for filing a false police report, the State
charged Mother with ...