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In re Welfare of Ian Garth Frederiksen

December 24, 1979

IN THE MATTER OF THE WELFARE OF IAN GARTH FREDERIKSEN, ET AL, BETTY JEAN LEE, APPELLANT


Turner, J.*fn* Callow, C.j., and Swanson, J., concur.

Author: Turner

This is an appeal by a mother from two orders of the juvenile court: (1) one order adjudges that her infant daughter, Susanna Lee, age 6 months, is a "dependent child," and places her legal custody in the State Department of Social and Health Services to arrange proper foster care; (2) the other order permanently deprives appellant of all parental rights in her two older children, Ian Frederiksen, age 4, and Bethany Lee, age 2.

Appellant was married to George Frederiksen from 1973 to 1976, when they were divorced. Ian Frederiksen was born to that marriage. The father, George, had relinquished all parental rights to his son and is not a party to this appeal.

Appellant married Mark Lee in 1977. Bethany and Susanna Lee are children of that marriage. Although the father, Mark, appeared in these cases at the trial court level, he did not join in the appeal.

On March 10, 1977, Donald E. Bennett, on behalf of the Department of Social and Health Services, filed identical petitions in juvenile court alleging that Ian Frederiksen and Bethany Lee were each dependent as defined by RCW 13.04.010(2) in that they had no parents or guardian willing or capable of exercising proper parental control; that on March 9, 1977, the children were left unattended and were placed in receiving care by the Seattle Police Department; that the mother and Mark Lee both had extreme emotional problems but refused psychiatric treatment; that both children were in danger of suffering psychological damage if

they remained with the mother unless she received treatment. Petitioner requested the protection of the court for the children.

On March 31, 1978, Riva Zeff, on behalf of the Department of Social and Health Services, filed petitions alleging both children were dependent under RCW 13.04.010; that both Mark and Betty Lee suffered from emotional problems and were incapable of exercising proper parental care; that both children had suffered severe social-emotional deprivation; and that the best interests of the children required that their parents be deprived of all parental rights pursuant to RCW 13.04.100 and RCW 13.04.140.

On June 22, 1978, appellant gave birth to Susanna Lee at University Hospital in Seattle. The Department of Social and Health Services took the baby at birth and placed her in foster care so that appellant never had her actual custody.

On July 26, 1978, Riva Zeff, acting for the department, filed in juvenile court a petition alleging that Susanna was dependent as defined by RCW 13.34.030(2) in that the child has been "abused or neglected as defined in chapter 26.44 RCW;" that there was no proper dwelling for the child to reside in; that there was a deprivation petition pending against the parents because of their failure to provide adequate care and supervision for their other two children who were subjected to social-emotional deprivation; that the parents failed to utilize the services offered by the department and failed to realize the serious danger to the children resulting from their acts and omissions; that both parents had been diagnosed as schizophrenics; and the child Susanna faced a clear and present danger unless action was taken to withdraw her from the parents. The prayer asked the protection of the court.

On August 8, 9, and 10, 1978, a fact finding hearing was held on the petitions involving all three children. The court found that on March 9, 1977, Ian and Bethany were left unattended and through the response of police, the children were placed in a receiving home; that on April 14, 1977, the

parents admitted the dependency of Ian and Bethany, wardship over them was established, and the children were subsequently returned to their parents; that on January 20, 1978, Bethany was temporarily abandoned on a garbage cannister at Seattle Community College and the children were again placed in receiving care. With reference to Ian and Bethany, the court further found:

On January 20, 1978, Bethany was temporarily abandoned on a garbage cannister at Seattle Community College. Police responded and again both Ian and Bethany were placed in receiving care.

Finding of fact No. 7.

Staff members of the Department of Social and Health Services discovered the children's physical needs were not being met; they were not given proper and adequate food, shelter or clothing. One dwelling that the family lived in was dirty, had no heat in the winter and had a broken window in the living room with a blanket over it. There were cockroaches in the house and it was dark inside.

Finding of fact No. 8.

As of August 8, 1978, Mark and Betty Lee were living in a hotel on Second Avenue in Seattle where there was only one main room for them, a communal kitchen and a communal bathroom. The character of the hotel was such that it had a large number of transient residents.

Finding of fact No. 10.

Through arrangements made by the Department of Social and Health Services Homemaker Services, parenting classes and counseling were set up for Mark and Betty Lee. They participated in these services but made almost no progress at all. Betty Lee did not see any need for the services and Mark Lee was either unwilling or unable to profit from them. Betty Lee unreasonably discounted her problems.

Finding of fact No. 11.

Mark Lee suffers from serious emotional and mental problems. He has been hospitalized on several occasions, including in 1976 and in February, 1977. He has been

diagnosed by a psychiatrist as a chronic undifferentiated schizophrenic.

Finding of fact No. 12.

Betty Lee suffers from serious emotional and mental problems. She has been hospitalized in the past, including an involuntary commitment at Western State Hospital in 1971. She has been diagnosed by a psychiatrist as schizophrenic.

Finding of fact No. 13.

The mental condition of the parents deprives them of the judgment and insight necessary to meet the needs of their children. Betty Lee does not understand the requirements of children and Mark Lee has manifested a strong inability to function as an adequate parent.

Finding of fact No. 14.

The emotional needs of Bethany and Ian have not been met. Bethany and Ian exhibited signs of serious emotional and social deprivation as a result of this.

Finding of fact No. 15.

Bethany and Ian, by reason of the parents' neglect, are in need of proper parental care.

Finding of fact No. 16.

Bethany Lee and Ian Frederiksen had been removed from the custody of their parents, Betty and Mark Lee, for a period of at least six months pursuant to a dependency order entered April 14, 1977, prior to this action.

Supplemental finding of fact No. 1.

The conditions which led to their removal still persist.

Supplemental finding of fact No. 2.

There is little likelihood that those conditions will be remedied so that the children can be returned to their parents in the near future.

Supplemental finding of fact No. 3.

Continuation of the parent-child relationship clearly diminishes the children's prospects for early integration into a stable and permanent home.

Supplemental finding of fact No. 4.

Necessary services have been provided or offered to Mark and Betty Lee to facilitate a reunion of the family. Mark and Betty Lee have substantially failed to accept such services.

Supplemental finding of fact No. 5.

With reference to Susanna the court found:

Susanna Lee is in need of proper parental care.

Finding of fact No. 17.

Susanna Lee, although she was removed from the parents at birth, is in danger of negligent treatment or maltreatment because of either the parents' inability or ...


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