A.M.W. v. Cabinet for Health and Family Services. Ky COA, Child must be party to termination of parental rights appeal

A.M.W. v. Cabinet for Health and Family Services

No. 2011-CA-001441-ME

Published: Opinion and Order Dismissing


A.M.W. appealed from an Order terminating the Appellant’s parental rights. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services filed a motion to dismiss the appeal for failure to join the child as a party.

Appellant served a copy of the notice of appeal on the attorney for the Cabinet and the
circuit court judge, but failed to serve a copy on the guardian ad litem. Although the child at issue was included in the style of the notice of appeal, the child’s guardian ad litem was not
provided fair notice of the appeal and the child was not joined as a party.

In an action to terminate parental rights, the child’s interests are not the same as
the interest of the parents or the Cabinet.
When a parent appeals an order terminating parental rights, the child is
a principal focus of the appeal and must be made a party to protect his
interests. The child is a necessary and
indispensable party to an appeal from the termination of parental rights. Failure to join the child requires dismissal of the appeal.

Digested by Sandra G. Ragland, Diana L. Skaggs + Associates.