People in Interest of H.T., 2019 COA 72

A division of the Court of Appeals holds that the initial dispositional order in a D&N proceeding is not a final appealable order pursuant to § 19-1-109(2)(c), C.R.S. After the parties entered into a deferred adjudication, the Court entered a dispositional order requiring the Larimer County Department of Human Services to pay for the father’s offense specific treatment. The department filed a notice of appeal of the juvenile court’s order requiring it to pay for treatment. The division issued an order to show cause why the appeal should not be dismissed for lack of a final, appealable order, and a motions division ultimately allowed the appeal to proceed and for the finality issue to be considered on the merits.

In this decision, the division holds that, under § 19-1-109(2)(c), the initial dispositional order by itself is not a final, appealable order. In reaching this conclusion, the division considers the plain text of the statute, the temporary nature of dispositional orders, and the delays that appeals of dispositional orders would cause. The division notes that its decision does not conflict with the People in Interest of C.L.S., 934 P.2d at 851, 854 (Colo. App. 1996), holding that when appealing the adjudication a party may also appeal the initial dispositional order, explaining that the appeal of an adjudication will also impact the merits of the dispositional order.

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