In re NG

In In re NG, 14 P.3d 203 (Wyo. 2000), DFS appealed an order by a juvenile court requiring it to pay for electronic monitoring services provided by a private company for a minor child in a child-in-need-of-supervision (CHINS) case. There, when the CHINS petition was filed, the minor was on probation through the municipal court and was wearing an electronic monitor provided by a private company and paid for by the municipal court. Id. at 204. Prior to arraignment on the CHINS case, the minor, her mother and DFS agreed to a "CHINS CASE PLAN." The plan acknowledged that NG was on probation and wearing an electronic monitor. Subsequently, the DFS worker wrote a letter to the assistant district attorney and attached the case plan. The letter indicated the court date had been cancelled because they were in agreement to follow the case plan. Id. at 205. In September of 1998, the DFS worker recommended that electronic monitoring be discontinued. At NG's arraignment in October of 1998, NG admitted the allegations in the petition and the juvenile court discontinued the electronic monitoring. In November of 1998, the juvenile court found that the electronic monitoring services were reasonable and in the best interest of the minor. The court ordered DFS to pay for the monitoring services. Id. DFS argued in In re NG that the court lacked the statutory authority to order DFS to pay for services such as electronic monitoring. Id. DFS argued that its duties in CHINS cases are explicitly defined by statute. Id. The Court took an equitable approach. "The purpose of the law is to promote the best interests of the children. DFS and the juvenile court must work together to that end. To accomplish this task, it is necessary for both the agency and the court to have somewhat more flexibility than DFS would concede." Id. The Court also held that "it is not reasonable to expect the legislature to foresee every method that might be employed to assist a juvenile." Id.