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Georgia Deprivation Finding Upheld – Georgia Case Law Update

On November 17, 2008, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed a Juvenile Court’s finding of deprivation under Georgia law and the removal of the child from her parents’ custody. The trial court specifically held that the child was deprived because the child was sexually abused by her Father and because the Mother failed to protect the child from this abuse.

In In the Interest of B.H. (A08A1102), the Georgia Court of Appeals stressed that, in reviewing a judgment determining that child is deprived, “we review the evidence in the light most favorable to the juvenile court’s judgment to determine whether any rational trier of fact could have found by clear and convincing evidence that the child was deprived.” Citing In the Interest of S.S.,232 Ga. App. 287, 289 (1998). Using this standard, the Court of Appeals affirmed the finding of deprivation as to the Father, referring to testimony of another child into the house as to the abuse perpetrated by the Father and holding that a rational trier of fact could have found deprivation by clear and convincing evidence. The Court of Appeals applied the same standard and reasoning to the deprivation finding against the Mother, referring to specific evidence that the Mother had “manipulated [the child] to ensure the return of the father to the home without regard to whether he had sexually abused the child.”

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