First District Rules No Jurisdiction On Mother’s Appeal Of Unfitness Finding.

A mother was found to be an unfit parent. In the best interest of her child, the mother’s parental rights were terminated. The mother appealed the unfitness finding. The State argued lack of appellate jurisdiction.

The Illinois First District appellate court agreed it did not have jurisdiction. Here’s the court’s thinking:

In juvenile cases, subject to Supreme Court Rule662(a) … an adjudicatory order is generally not considered a final appealable order … Rather, it is the dispositional order from which an appeal properly lies …

In this case, respondent (mother) never filed a notice of appeal from either the trial court’s adjudicatory order or its dispositional order. We therefore lack appellate jurisdiction over respondent’s appeal of the trial court’s January 13, 2004 adjudicatory order and dismiss that portion of the appeal.

I read this to say that the appeal of parental fitness should be filed within 30 of the dispositional order, and that the adjudicatory order is irrelevant to the question of establishing appellate jurisdiction. Note that only the fitness question was dismissed. The court did consider the propriety of the termination of parental rights — and affirmed the trial court’s termination. The case, In re Janir T., No. 1-06-0111 (12/12/06), is available here.