In the interest of K.T., C.T., Ka.T., and Ca.T., children under eighteen years of age.
State of Utah, Appellee. B.T. and S.T., Appellants,
Certification from the Court of Appeals
District Juvenile, Salt Lake The Honorable Charles D. Behrens
Nos. 1125972, 1125975, 11255977, 1125980
Sheleigh A. Harding, Salt Lake City, for appellant B.T.
Jordan Putnam, Cottonwood Heights, for appellant S.T.
D. Reyes, Att'y Gen., Carol L.C. Verdoia, John M.
Peterson, Asst. Att'y Gens., Salt Lake City, for
Pierce, Salt Lake City, for Office of Guardian ad Litem.
Justice Pearce authored the opinion of the Court, in which
Chief Justice Durrant, Associate Chief Justice Lee, Justice
Durham, and Justice Himonas joined.
At the disposition hearing in their child welfare case,
appellant parents stipulated to a set of facts, including a
statement that one of the family's children had
"disclosed that [the mother] has spanked and disciplined
her and her siblings with a belt." Appellants also
stipulated that the same child had disclosed that the father
"has spanked the children with a belt
historically." The parents contend that this was an
insufficient factual basis to permit the juvenile court to
conclude that they had harmed the children within the meaning
of the Utah Code. We agree that the juvenile court needed
additional evidence before it could conclude by clear and
convincing evidence that the children had been harmed. We
This case involves four children-K.T., C.T., Ka.T., and Ca.T.
Appellant S.T. (Mother) is the mother of all four children.
Appellant B.T. (Father) is the biological father of the
younger two-Ka.T. and Ca.T. Father is the stepfather of the
oldest two-K.T. and C.T.
The State filed a Verified Petition in February 2016 seeking
to adjudicate the children as abused and neglected under Utah
Code section 78A-6-105 (2008). Following a preliminary shelter hearing,
the juvenile court placed K.T., C.T., Ka.T., and Ca.T. into
the custody of the Division of Child and Family Services
The parties stipulated to a number of findings of fact. One
stipulated finding indicated that "[K.T.] also disclosed
[Mother] has spanked and disciplined her and her siblings
with a belt. The mother uses a black belt with rhinestones.