final until disposition of timely filed motion for rehearing.
appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Lower
Tribunal No. 18-15614 Vivianne del Rio, Judge.
Butler, P.A. and Thomas J. Butler, for appellant.
Perkins, for appellee Department of Children and Families;
Thomasina Moore and Laura J. Lee (Tallahassee), for appellee
Guardian ad Litem Program.
LOGUE, MILLER, and LOBREE, JJ.
mother, R.B., challenges an adjudication of dependency
rendered below, as to her four-year-old son, D.B., following
the untimely and tragic death of his half-sibling. On appeal,
R.B. contends the evidence adduced by the Department of
Children and Families ("the Department") was
insufficient to sustain a finding of dependency. For the
reasons elucidated below, we conclude the lower
tribunal's decision was well-supported and affirm.
Thanksgiving Day 2018, after soiling her diaper,
eight-month-old A.H. sustained second and third-degree
immersion burns on over thirty percent of her body, having
been submerged in scalding water while under the supervision
of her father, T.H. The mother's older child,
four-year-old D.B., was home during the incident and heard
A.H. screaming in agony. A.H.'s injuries proved fatal and
an investigation followed.
probe by both law enforcement and child protection
investigators revealed that A.H. suffered from exposure in
utero to controlled substances, due to the mother's
prenatal drug abuse. The Department initiated action by
enrolling the mother in therapeutic treatment. Thereafter,
the Department received two separate referrals involving the
one month prior to A.H.'s death, the mother and father
became involved in a heated dispute over child care. The
parties were both scheduled to appear at their places of
employment and failed to make child-care arrangements.
Consequently, the mother left A.H. and D.B. unsupervised in
the home for an extended period of time.
day, the mother appeared at the father's place of
employment and became aggressive. A domestic altercation
ensued, and the father contacted law enforcement. The
responding officer subsequently learned the children had been
deserted, and the mother was arrested for child neglect.
day A.H. sustained her life-ending burns, the father
materialized at the home of the mother. The mother departed
from the residence, leaving the children under his charge.
After the infant was burned, the mother returned to the home.
Upon discovering the severity and extent of the burns, the
mother telephoned the police.
investigators detected the odor of marijuana in the
residence. It was deemed particularly pungent in the bathroom
in which A.H. was abused. ...