Matter of Jennifer R. v. Tanya M.
Judge Ann O'Shea
The Administration for Children's Services (ACS) sought an arrest warrant for either the subject child, Jennifer, or an arrest of mother, Tanya, ordering her to produce Jennifer in court. Jennifer was removed from Tanya's custody and placed in a non-kinship foster home, from where she fled and did not return. After a hearing it was found Tanya neglected Jennifer as a result of her misuse of drugs and alcohol, and involving Jennifer in the purchase of illicit substances. A caseworker noted she spoke with Jennifer, who stated she went to live with Tanya, but would not release her new address. ACS filed a missing person's report, and police were looking for Jennifer. The court rejected ACS's reliance on Uniform Rules for the Family Court §205.80 to apply when a child left her foster home, stating it could not be used to place a "proceeding" on the calendar in response to a notice a child absconded. It stated a warrant of arrest was inherently coercive, depriving the individual of her liberty, and should not be issued unless the person refused to respond to a summons or subpoena requiring her presence. As police were already looking for Jennifer, there was no reason to authorize her arrest and no legal authority for issuance of a warrant for her arrest. Thus, ACS's motion was denied.