The child was adjudicated as a neglected minor on two occasions. The State alleged that the parents physically abused S.S. or allowed such abuse to occur. And, and that C.N. was at risk.
According to the State’s petition, S.S. was hospitalized with two skull fractures, a laceration to the forehead, and bruises to the head, chest, and buttocks. The State further alleged that C.N. and S.S. were neglected in that their environment was injurious to their welfare.
Subsequently, the Circuit Court, Kane County, found that mother and father were unfit parents. Due to their failure to make reasonable progress toward the return of child within 12 months of her adjudication. It terminated their parental rights. Mother and father appealed.
The Appellate Court reversed. The State petitioned for leave to appeal to the Illinois Supreme Court.
The Illinois Supreme Court reversed the Appellate Court. It upheld the Circuit Court’s original rulings.
(1)father’s unsubstantiated statements concerning his alleged Indian heritage were insufficient to implicate the provisions of the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA); father only said that the child may be Indian and produced no evidence in support.
The ICWA was enacted by Congress in 1978 in response to the growing concern over the consequences to Indian children, families and tribes of abusive welfare practices which separated large numbers of Indian children from their families and tribes through adoption or foster care placement, usually in non-Indian homes.
(2) the proper measure of the reasonableness of the parents’ progress toward the goal of returning the child was based on the parents’ compliance with the service plans and the court’s directives, in light of the condition which gave rise to child’s removal and other conditions which later became known and which would have prevented the court from returning custody of the child to the parents;
(3) the removal of mother’s reported husband from the family residence was not enough to resolve the conditions that triggered the child’s removal; and
(4) the determination that mother and father were unfit for their failure to make reasonable progress toward the child’s return was not against the manifest weight of the evidence.
In re C.N., 196 Ill.2d 181