Deprivation - Georgia Case Law Update
In In the Interest of R.J.M. (A08A1919), a mother appealed the Order of the Fulton county juvenile court sustaining a petition for deprivation to which she stipulated and which keeps the child in the custody of Fulton county DFCS. After the minor child was sexually abused by her father, DFCS filed a Petition for Deprivation and the child was removed from the home. Subsequently, an Amended Petition for Deprivation was filed, wherein the mother stipulated that the child was deprived, and the parties submitted a proposed Protective Order to the Judge that would allow the child to remain living with her mother. The court reviewed the evidence and the proposed Protective Order, but decided not to return custody to the mother.
The mother appealed, contending that she stipulated to the deprivation only because the agreement was for the child to be returned to her. On February 10, 2009, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the Order of the juvenile court, holding that “[h]ad the juvenile court merely followed the parties’ recommended disposition despite reservations it had about immediately returning R.J.M. to the mother, the juvenile court would have acted contrary to its fundamental obligation in deprivation proceedings to protect the welfare of the child.”