The MI Court of Appeals (In re Shawna Maye Galehouse, No. 326712) upheld a trial court order for the parents to reimburse the Montmorency Child Care Fund for costs of care and services for their child, Shawna.
Facts: Shawna was judged delinquent in juvenile delinquency proceedings in September, 2008. For the next five years until April, 2013, Shawna was in and out of foster care homes and public and private institutions. In March 2014, the appellant parents were ordered to appear in court to explain the arrearages in each of their accounts for the cost of care and services for Shawna. The trial court reviewed the file and after deciding the orders of placement were proper, ordered the parents to each pay $50.00 a month until the account balance ($126,494.22) was paid off.
Under Michigan law, MCL 712A.18(2), cost of care for juveniles placed outside the home is to be reimbursed by the juvenile, parent, guardian or custodian. And, this reimbursement provision applies during the entire time the juvenile is in care and under court supervision unless the child is in the permanent custody of the court.
The COA (Court of Appeals) held as follows:
1. The parents argued that Shawna was removed from their home due to a flawed petition of abuse and neglect. Because the trial court extensively reviewed the file finding that Shawna was placed due to the delinquency proceedings, and that the parents didn’t want Shawna home, it upheld the order for reimbursement.
2. The parents claimed that if the local fund is reimbursed by the state and federal government, they aren’t liable. The COA disagreed, stating that the statute (MCL 712A.18(2)) doesn’t provide for such consideration.
3. Finally, the parents claimed the court failed to consider their income and resources in determining the amount they had to pay. Since they didn’t explain how the court was wrong in its calculations, support their position with case law or statute and there was evidence they had previously made the same payments, the claim was denied.
The decision of the trial court was affirmed.