appeal from the Circuit Court for Miami-Dade County, Vivianne
del Rio, Judge. Lower Tribunal No. 18
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 tribunals
decision was well-supported and affirm.
FACTS AND BACKGROUND
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 mothers 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
probe by both law enforcement and child protection
investigators revealed that A.H. suffered from exposure in
utero to controlled substances, due to the mothers prenatal
drug abuse. The Department initiated action by enrolling the
mother in therapeutic treatment. Thereafter, the Department
received two separate referrals involving the family.
Approximately 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 fathers 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.