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Deprivation – Georgia Case Law Update

On February 9, 2009, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the Gwinnett county juvenile court’s finding that a child was deprived under O.C.G.A. §15-11-2(8)(A), reaffirming the standard that a juvenile court’s ruling will stand if it was supported by clear and convincing evidence. In In the Interest of J.S. (A08A1993), a mother appealed the deprivation ruling, arguing that there was insufficient evidence. The Court of Appeals rejected the mother’s claim, since the evidence suggested that the mother had filed numerous unsubstantiated claims of sexual abuse against the father and a young boy at a homeless shelter where the mother and child were living. The Court held that evidence of “repeated unfounded investigations of sexual abuse” has been held to be sufficient evidence of deprivation, and that the evidence in this case authorized the juvenile court to find by clear and convincing evidence that the child was deprived.

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