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In re M.K.

Supreme Court of Vermont

January 9, 2015

In re M.K., Juvenile

Editorial Note:

This Opinion is subject to motion for reargument or formal revision before publication. See V.R.A.P. 40

On Appeal from Superior Court, Windham Unit, Family Division. Katherine A. Hayes, J.

Matthew F. Valerio, Defender General, and Sara Puls, Appellate Defender, Montpelier, for Appellant Mother.

William H. Sorrell, Attorney General, and Bridget C. Asay, Assistant Attorney General, Montpelier, for Appellee State.

Michael Rose, St. Albans, for Appellee Juvenile.

Present: Reiber, C.J., Dooley, Skoglund, Robinson and Eaton, JJ.

OPINION

Page 108

Eaton, J.

[¶1] Mother appeals an order of the superior court, family division, finding that her five-year-old son, M.K., is a child in need of care or supervision (CHINS) based on a single incident of abuse. She argues that the CHINS determination must be reversed because the evidence was insufficient to prove the allegation of abuse. We affirm.

[¶2] The incident in question occurred on Easter Sunday, April 20, 2014, at an apartment complex that mother had just moved into with her two sons. On that morning, a tenant at the complex observed the incident and reported it to the property manager, who looked at a surveillance video from a camera located near where the incident occurred. After watching the video, the property manager contacted a social worker who was working with mother. The social worker and her supervisor came to the apartment complex and watched the video, after which they reported the incident to the Department for Children and Families (DCF). The property manager later turned over a copy of the video to police.

[¶3] Based on the incident captured by the surveillance video, DCF requested an emergency care order and filed a CHINS petition. Following a hearing on April 23, 2014, the court issued an emergency order placing M.K. in DCF custody.

[¶4] The surveillance video was admitted and played at a contested CHINS merits hearing held on July 31, 2014. At the hearing, the property manager, the social worker working with mother, and the investigating police officer testified for the State, while mother and the father, who had been at the apartment complex on the morning of the incident, testified on mother's behalf. Mother described her actions as attempting to protect M.K. from potential danger. At the conclusion of the hearing, the court ...


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