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62-JV-15-237

Filed in Second Judicial District Court


10/14/2016 8:35:56 PM
Ramsey County, MN

STATE OF MINNESOTA
Guardian ad Litem Program

State of Minnesota District Court


County: Ramsey Judicial District: Second
Case Type: Juvenile
Court File Numbers: 62 JV 15 237

In the Matter of the Welfare of the Child (ren) of: GUARDIAN AD LITEM REPORT
Latoya Smith, Mother Intermediate Disposition Hearing

Name of Guardian ad Litem: Charlene Siroin

Date of Report: 10/14/2016 Date of Hearing: 10/19/2016


Date of GAL Appointment: 4/12/2016
Does ICWA Apply: No
Number of Moves Into Out of Home Placement: 1
Days in Out of Home Placement:
Child 1: returned home on a THV with Ms. Smith on 7/30/15
Child 3, and Child 4: returned home on a THV with Ms. Smith on 12/2/15
Child 2: returned home on a THV with Ms. Smith on 7/13/16

Date of Statutory 12-Month Permanency Report: 7/30/2015

Child (ren) Name: DOB, Age at Time of Report:


Child 1
Child 2
Child 3
Child 4

GUARDIAN AD LITEM RECOMMENDATIONS REGARDING THE CHILD (REN)


For the reasons stated below, and based upon my independent investigation and the best interests of the
child(ren), I recommend the following to the court:

1. This matter be dismissed from court jurisdiction.

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62-JV-15-237
Filed in Second Judicial District Court
10/14/2016 8:35:56 PM
Ramsey County, MN

RATIONALE FOR RECOMMENDATIONS

Changes Impacting the Child (ren) since the Last Hearing:


The last hearing for this matter was held on 9/21/2016. All four of Ms. Smith’s children remain in the family
home under their mother’s care. Child 1 is a 5th grader at Obama Service Learning Elementary where he is
reportedly doing well with no attendance issues. Child 2 has returned to Linwood Monroe Arts Plus Upper
School and is enrolled in 4th grade. Child 3 is also enrolled in Linwood Monroe Arts Plus Lower School for the
2016-17 school year, where she is in 1st grade. Child 4 returns to Ruth Benner Elementary where she attends
the Head Start Program for half-days in the afternoon, Monday through Thursday. School staff report the
children are attending their respective schools with no attendance or behavior concerns.

Ms. Smith and her children continue to receive regular family therapy sessions with Vicki Wilhelm of Natalis
Counseling and Psychology Services. Ms. Smith also has additional support services in the home provided by
an ARMHS worker, a parenting skills worker who provides in-home support and education for 4 hours weekly,
and personal care attendant (PCA) services for Child 2 at the rate of 8.5 authorized hours per day. Ms. Smith
has been diligent in managing Child 2’s extensive appointment calendar which includes on average 2-3 clinic
visits per week for swim therapy, occupational therapy, and physical therapy.

A report was submitted to Child Protection on 10/14/2016 indicating Child 2 disclosed she had been
“whooped” or hit in the face. Child 2 has been the origination of numerous Child Protection reports, two of
which were assessed through Midwest Children’s Resource Center sexual assault consultations. This writer is
aware that Ms. Sanchez made an unannounced visit to the family’s home October 13, 2016 and reported she
had no concerns about the home or the children as a result. She indicated she did inspect Child 2’s body and
found no concerning marks or bruises of any kind.

All input provided by multiple mandated reporters including in-home support services, school staff, PCAs, and
a recent unannounced visits to the home, indicates Ms. Smith is adequately addressing the many needs of her
children, including Child 2’s special needs. Ms. Smith has increasingly demonstrated that she is willing to
accept services to assist herself and her children in meeting her own medical needs, as well as the children’s
mental health and Child 2’s complex medical and developmental needs.

Child (ren)’s Wishes:


Due to the young ages of the children, they are unable to express a reliable opinion.

Permanency/Concurrent Planning:
Reunification

Visitation with Parents/Siblings/Tribe/Significant Others:


All four children are home on a THV. The family routinely has opportunities to interact and visit with relatives.
Ms. Smith continues to be interested in moving to the Brooklyn Park area to be closer to family. Child 1 spent
much of the summer with a maternal aunt and his cousins. Ms. Smith reported the children have not had any
contact with Whakeem Watkins, the father of Child 2, Child 3, and Child 4, or paternal relatives. Mr. Baynes is
currently incarcerated in Florida.

Relative Search:
A relative search has been conducted by RCCHSD.

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62-JV-15-237
Filed in Second Judicial District Court
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Ramsey County, MN
Child Safety and Well Being

Mental Health/Medication:
Child 1 has discontinued therapy with Kasim Abdurrazzaq following several missed sessions due to scheduling
conflicts. Subsequently, Child 1 has begun therapy sessions with Vicki Wilhelm of Natalis Counseling and
Psychology Solutions. Ms. Wilhelm previously provided trauma-focused individual therapy to Child 2, but has
recently transferred those sessions to family-focused therapy involving all four children and Ms. Smith.

Current Functioning and Behaviors:


During visits, all four children are talkative and engaging. During previous visits, there was a tendency toward
loud activity and interruptions involving gaining attention from their mother. However, recent visits have
shown the family to be much more calm and respectful. Ms. Smith has demonstrated her ability to handle the
demands of multiple children and their needs. The children take turns seeking Ms. Smith’s assistance and
approval, and Ms. Smith is responsive and attentive to the children. Child 1 proudly displayed his clean and
organized room for RCCHSD social worker, Dolores Sanchez, and this writer. All of the children ate dinner
together with minimal supervision and Child 1 assisted his siblings with their requests.

Medical/Dental/Vision:
All four children are up to date on well-checks and immunizations. Dental and vision are current. Child 2 is
diagnosed with cerebral palsy and chronic lung disease. Child 2 has an extensive schedule of therapies,
including speech, occupational, swim, and physical therapy, as well as rehabilitation appointments at
Children’s Hospital. Both Child 2 and Child 3 wear glasses.

Education:
Child 1 attends Obama Service Learning Elementary where he is enrolled in 5th grade. Child 2 attends Linwood
Monroe Arts Plus – Upper Campus where she is enrolled in 4th grade. Child 3 attends Linwood Monroe Arts
Plus – Lower Campus, and is enrolled in 1st grade. Both Child 2 and Child 3 have IEPs. Child 2’s IEP indicates
she is in a Setting 03 - Separate Class – more than 60% in special education classroom/setting with a primary
disability of Physically Impaired and a secondary disability of Speech/Language Impaired. Child 4 attends the
Head Start Program at Ruth Benner Elementary.

On 10/14/2016, this writer attended a meeting at Linwood Monroe Arts Plus – Upper to address concerns
staff raised about the continued care and condition of Child 2. The result of the meeting was staff having a
greater understanding for Ms. Smith and a plan to extend Ms. Smith and her children their support, starting
with a group meeting scheduled for Monday, 10/24/2016.

Community Connection/Social/Recreational Activities:


The children all live close to family and enjoy family gatherings. They enjoy going to the park and swimming.
Child 1 particularly enjoys playing basketball and has, in previous years, been part of a traveling basketball
league.

Cultural:
The children live with family which provides for their cultural needs.

Religious:
This writer is unaware of the religious practices and preferences of Ms. Smith and her children.

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62-JV-15-237
Filed in Second Judicial District Court
10/14/2016 8:35:56 PM
Ramsey County, MN
Safety Concerns:
None at this time.

Independent Living Skills:


Due to the ages of the children, they require all of their needs be addressed by an adult.

Summary of Strengths and Issues of Concerns for the Family:


Strengths:
1. The family has the support of many relatives.
2. Services are in place to address and assist with the needs of the family.
3. Ms. Smith has shown she can manage the numerous scheduled appointments for Child 2 and the
many scheduled services required of her by the Court.

Concerns:
1. Family history with domestic violence, guns in the home, and drugs in the home.

Additional Information:
Mr. Baynes is incarcerated in Florida with an expected release date of 7/17/2017. Mr. Watkins has been non-
compliant with his unsigned case plan. His whereabouts are unknown and he reportedly has no contact with
the children.

While Ms. Smith may continue to experience challenges in parenting four children who have special needs, it
is commendable that she has made significant improvements in her willingness and her ability to do so. At
this time I believe it is in the best interests of these children that this matter is dismissed from court
jurisdiction.

SUMMARY OF INFORMATION & CONTACTS

Parent Information:
Latoya Smith, mother
Billy Baynes, adjudicated father of Child 1
Whakeem Watkins, adjudicated father of Child 2, Child 3, and Child 4

Brief History of Case:


On 9/12/2014, RCCHSD received a report that Child 2 told school personnel that her father, Whakeem
Watkins, hit her. School personnel observed that Child 1 had a swollen lip. Child 2 is diagnosed with cerebral
palsy and is developmentally and cognitively delayed. The St Paul Police responded and observed Child 2 had
a cut on the inside of her mouth. RCCHSD also received several reports of Child 2’s highly sexualized behavior
at school. On 9/15/2014, RCCHSD met with Child 2 at school. Child 2 indicated her private area hurt and hit
herself in that area several times. Child 2 showed inappropriate boundaries with the RCCHSD child protection
worker by asking the worker for a kiss and to change her diaper. When RCCHSD met with Ms. Smith and Mr.
Watkins, Mr. Watkins told them Child 1 had kissed Child 2 on the mouth and said she was his girlfriend. Mr.
Watkins and Ms. Smith refused to sign any paperwork or cooperate with the assessment and Mr. Watkins
blamed the school for child protection’s involvement with his family. On 10/13/2014, Child 1 was seen at
Midwest Children’s Resource Center (MCRC) for a sexual abuse consultation. Child 2 made several comments
about Child 1’s interaction with her including him “getting sexy with her.” MCRC was unable to complete the
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62-JV-15-237
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Ramsey County, MN
interview but told RCCHSD and Ms. Smith that given Child 2’s age and vulnerability, the family should take
steps to ensure her safety in the home. On 10/27/2014, RCCHSD determined child protection services were
needed. On 12/08/2014 and 1/5/2015, RCCHSD received reports of Child 2’s highly sexualized behavior at
school. On 1/5/2015, RCCHSD learned that Ms. Smith and Mr. Watkins had not followed through with
scheduling appointments for Project Assist for Child 1 or Child 2’s mental health assessments. Over the next
month, Mr. Watkins was aggressive and disagreeable regarding RCCHSD’s involvement and following through
with the appointments. RCCHSD determined Ms. Smith and Mr. Watkins failed to appropriately address the
children’s mental health and have failed to address Child 2’s allegations of sexual abuse.

There were reports that Mr. Watkins had guns in the home and was selling drugs from the home. There were
further reports Mr. Watkins used Child 1 to deliver drugs. The house had been broken into and robbed,
though it was not reported to the police.

Placement Information:
Child 1 Jennifer Smith 3/27/2015-7/30/2015
THV with Ms. Smith 7/30/2015-Present

Child 2 Sheronda Orridge 2/4/2015-7/13/2016


THV with Ms. Smith 7/13/2016-Present

Child 3 Sheronda Orridge 2/4/2015-12/2/2015


THV with Ms. Smith 12/2/2105-Present

Child 4 Sheronda Orridge 2/4/2015-12/2/2015


THV with Ms. Smith 12/2/2015-Present

Services Provided for Child (ren):


Individual Therapy/Family Therapy
Trauma-Focused Cognitive Behavioral Therapy
Parenting Educator Services
Housing
Early Head Start
Foster Care
ARMHS worker
Rule 25 Assessment
RCCHSD Case Management
Family Group Decision Making
MCRC

Date and Type of Contact with Child (ren) since Last Hearing:
(Last hearing on 9/21/16)
None.

Documents Reviewed since Last Hearing:


Imani Hospitality Homecare PCA Care Plan
PCA Instruction Sheet
DHS Service Authorization
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62-JV-15-237
Filed in Second Judicial District Court
10/14/2016 8:35:56 PM
Ramsey County, MN
St Paul Public Schools Confidential Report of Suspected Student Malteatment, dated 10/09/16

Collateral Contacts since Last Hearing:


Latoya Smith, mother
Dolores Sanchez, RCCHSD
Vickie Wilhelm, therapist for Child 2 and family
Mary Scheidler, special education teacher and case manager for Child 2, Monroe Linwood Arts Plus Upper
Cori Boehm, social worker, Monroe Linwood Arts Plus Upper
Mindy McBride, Assistant Principal, Monroe Linwood Arts Plus Upper
Colleen Richardson, school nurse, Monroe Linwood Arts Plus Upper

AMENDMENT OF REPORT
As permitted under Rule 38.05, subd. 1, of the Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure, the guardian ad litem reserves
the right to amend and/or supplement this report as deemed necessary or appropriate by the guardian ad litem. Such
amendment or supplementation may be done through a written addendum if time permits or, if time does not permit,
orally at the time of the hearing.

OBJECTION TO REPORT
Pursuant to Rule 38.05, subd. 4, of the Rules of Juvenile Protection Procedure, any party who objects to the content or
recommendations of this report may submit to the court and other parties a written objection either before or at the
hearing at which the report is to be considered. Such objection shall include a statement certifying the content of the
objection as true based upon personal observation, first-hand knowledge, or information and belief. An objection may
be stated on the record as long as the Court gives the guardian ad litem a reasonable opportunity to respond to the
objection.

BY SIGNING THIS REPORT, I CERTIFY THAT THE CONTENT IS TRUE AND CORRECT, TO THE BEST OF MY
KNOWLEDGE, BASED UPON PERSONAL OBSERVATION, FIRST-HAND KNOWLEDGE, INFORMATION, AND
BELIEF.

Respectfully Submitted,

/s/ Charlene Siroin 10/14/2016


Guardian ad Litem Date

Certificate of Service and Copy


Ramsey County Attorney’s Office
Dolores Sanchez, RCCHSD
Joanna Woolman, Attorney for Latoya Smith
Court File