2016 Supp. 38-2273 does not provide the right to appeal a
denial of a motion to terminate parental rights.
of the judgment of the Court of Appeals in an unpublished
opinion filed July 7, 2017.
from Sedgwick District Court; Daniel T. Brooks, judge.
A. Brazill, of Morris, Laing, Evans, Brock & Kennedy,
Chartered, of Wichita, argued the cause, and Shannon L.
Cooper, of Andover, was on the briefs for
Jennifer M. Hill, of McDonald Tinker PA, of Wichita, argued
the cause, and Erin Sommer Good, of the same firm, was with
her on the briefs for appellee/cross-appellant.
expedited appeal from a child in need of care (CINC)
proceeding under the Kansas Code for Care of Children
(Revised Code), K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 38-2201 et seq., we
consider whether a Kansas appellate court has jurisdiction to
review a denial of a motion to terminate parental rights
under K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 38-2273(a). In this case, a
grandfather moved to terminate the parental rights of his
grandson's parents. The district court appointed the
grandfather as the child's permanent custodian but
declined to terminate the father's parental rights. The
Court of Appeals then dismissed the grandfather's appeal
for lack of jurisdiction. Because the plain language of
K.S.A. 2016 Supp. 38-2273(a) does not provide the right to
appeal the district court's order denying the
grandfather's motion, we affirm.
and Procedural Background
we have jurisdiction is a question of law that, in this case,
hinges on statutory interpretation. Kansas Medical Mut.
Ins. Co. v. Svaty, 291 Kan. 597, 609, 244 P.3d 642
(2010). Given the narrow question of law presented, we recite
only those facts necessary for a basic understanding of the
was born while his mother (Mother) was incarcerated in 2008.
Mother was released from prison a few weeks after his birth.
At first, the two lived briefly with Mother's family in
Oklahoma. Then they lived with T.S.'s father (Father) in
Wichita for a short time. Finally, Mother and T.S. moved in
with T.S.'s maternal grandfather (Grandfather) and his
wife (collectively, Grandparents) in Wichita. Except for a
few months, T.S. has lived with Grandparents his entire life.
and T.S. lived with Grandparents until April 2013 when Mother
allegedly participated in a robbery of Grandparents'
home. Grandfather promptly filed a CINC action and requested
temporary custody of T.S., citing concerns with Mother's
and Father's criminal conduct. The Sedgwick County
District Court subsequently granted Grandfather temporary
custody of T.S. It also ordered Mother and Father to submit
to drug testing and limited them to supervised visitation
with T.S. Both parents signed achievement plans with the goal
to reintegrate with T.S.
district court held an adjudication hearing. Mother
stipulated to the allegations in the CINC petition and waived
her right to a hearing. After hearing evidence from the
remaining parties, the court found T.S. was a child in need
of care. The court voiced concerns about Father's
criminal history, drug use, and mistreatment of women but
noted Father had made some positive progress. In the end, the
court ordered that T.S. remain in Grandfather's custody
and expanded Father's visitation rights.
after that, Grandfather moved for findings of unfitness and
termination of Mother's and Father's parental rights
or, in the alternative, for an order appointing Grandfather
as T.S.'s permanent custodian. Grandfather alleged, among
other things, that Father was violent toward Mother, abused