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Protective Placement Order

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 10, 2024//

Protective Placement Order

By: WISCONSIN LAW JOURNAL STAFF//June 10, 2024//

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WI Court of Appeals – District III

Case Name: Outagamie County Department of Health and Human Services v. L. C. E.

Case No.: 2023AP000929

Officials: Stark, P.J.

Focus: Protective Placement Order

The Wisconsin Court of Appeals reversed the protective placement order for Lauren. The decision was based on the finding that the County failed to prove by clear and convincing evidence that Lauren was so totally incapable of providing for her own care or custody that she posed a substantial risk of serious harm to herself or others, as required under Wisconsin Statute § 55.08(1)(c).

Lauren, diagnosed with `a developmental disability and unspecified bipolar disorder, had been under guardianship since 2018. Her living situation had been unstable, leading to an involuntary commitment in early 2019 due to acute psychosis. Despite being placed in a managed apartment with support services, Lauren’s commitment was overturned in 2021 for lack of specific findings on her dangerousness.

Testimonies by a community support specialist and a physician highlighted concerns about Lauren’s ability to manage her daily living activities and medication, and potential vulnerability to abuse if not in a structured environment. However, the court found these concerns to be speculative and insufficiently specific to meet the statutory criteria for protective placement. The decision emphasized that Lauren would remain under guardianship, addressing some risks cited by the County without necessitating protective placement.

Reversed.

Decided 06/04/24

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