THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE. IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS
PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 239(d)(2), SCACR.
THE STATE OF
In The Court of Appeals
South Carolina Department of Social Services, Respondent,
Crystal Lynn Long, Randy Lee Cox and John Doe, Defendants,
of whom Randy Lee Cox is Appellant.
In the interest of:
Jordan Lee Cox, DOB 10/7/1999
A Minor Under the Age of 18.
Timothy L. Brown, Family Court Judge
Unpublished Opinion No.
Heard May 11, 2006 – Filed June 8, 2006
Amos A. Workman, of
Greenville, for Appellant.
Danielle M. Mitchell, of
Greenville, for Respondent.
Ann Shipman Miner, of Pickens, for Guardian Ad Litem.
PER CURIAM: Randy Lee Cox appeals the family court’s decision to terminate his parental rights. We affirm.
Jordan Lee Cox, the subject of this termination of parental rights action, was born on October 7, 1999. His parents, Cox and Crystal Long never married, but maintain an ongoing relationship.
Pursuant to an order dated August 29, 2002,
After a merits hearing in October 2002, the family court, by order dated November 21, 2002, continued custody with DSS and incorporated the treatment plan presented by DSS into the order. After evaluating Cox, DSS had determined that he needed to complete certain goals in order to become a responsible parent. The plan required Cox to participate in drug and alcohol evaluations, attend mental health counseling, attend parenting classes, submit to random drug screens, and secure appropriate housing for
Cox continued to live at Randy Cox’s residence and did not begin services as required by the treatment plan. On May 27, 2003, DSS filed a contempt action against Cox for failure to comply with the treatment plan. The family court held Cox in contempt, sentencing him to thirty days in jail, suspended upon immediate compliance with the plan. In July 2003, DSS brought a Motion to Enforce the sentence, and Cox began participating in the programs outlined in the plan. Cox was unable to complete the services because his parole (for a previous offense) was revoked for using illegal drugs, and he was returned to prison in December 2003. Before his incarceration, Cox visited with
On October 16, 2003, DSS filed the present termination of parental rights action. After a hearing, at which Cox was present and testified, the family court, by order dated April 1, 2005, found by clear and convincing evidence that Cox failed to remedy the conditions which caused Jordan’s removal by failing to complete the treatment plan and by failing to establish secure and appropriate housing due to his continued residence with his father, Randy Cox. The family court also found
STANDARD OF REVIEW
In a termination of parental rights case (TPR), the best interests of the children are the paramount consideration.
I. Termination of Parental Rights
Cox argues the family court lacked clear and convincing evidence to terminate his parental rights on the ground he failed to remedy the conditions that caused
The termination of parental rights is governed by section 20-7-1572 of the South Carolina Code Annotated (Supp. 2005). Pursuant to that section, parental rights may be terminated upon a showing of one or more enumerated grounds and a finding the termination is in the best interests of the child. Under section 20-7-1572(2) parental rights may be terminated where:
(2) The child has been removed from the parent pursuant to Section 20‑7‑610 or Section 20‑7‑736, has been out of the home for a period of six months following the adoption of a placement plan by court order or by agreement between the department and the parent, and the parent has not remedied the conditions which caused the removal.
(B) Upon investigation of a report received under Section 20‑7‑650 or at any time during the delivery of services by the department, the department may petition the family court to remove the child from custody of the parent, guardian, or other person legally responsible for the child’s welfare if the department determines by a preponderance of evidence that the child is an abused or neglected child and that the child cannot be safely maintained in the home in that he cannot be protected from unreasonable risk of harm affecting the child’s life, physical health, safety, or mental well‑being without removal.
Cox concedes he failed to complete the treatment plan, but argues his partial compliance and attendance to his relationship with
The evidence before us clearly and convincingly demonstrates that Cox failed to remove the impediment to his regaining custody of
The family court also found that clear and convincing evidence existed for terminating Cox’s rights on the ground that “[t]he child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the State for fifteen of the most recent twenty‑two months.” S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1572(8) (Supp. 2005). Cox does not argue the family court erred in terminating his rights on this ground; therefore, he has abandoned this issue in appeal.
Cox argues the family court erred in not properly weighing his incarceration and the incidents of his incarceration in terminating his parental rights. Specifically, Cox contends that his incarceration limited his ability to complete the treatment plan. We disagree.
Cox cites S.C. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. v. Wilson, 344 S.C. 332, 543 S.E.2d 580 (
Here, the family court did not terminate Cox’s parental rights based on his incarceration. After careful consideration of how Cox’s incarceration affected his ability to remedy the conditions which required removal, the family court found the ground for termination existed apart from father’s incarceration. Although Cox was in prison at the time his parental rights were terminated, he had a period of approximately fifteen months of freedom after
C. Best Interests
Cox argues the family court erred in finding TPR is in
After finding one of the grounds for termination exists, section 20-7-1572 of the South Carolina Code Annotated (Supp. 2005) requires a determination that the termination is in the best interest of the child. (“The family court may order the termination of parental rights upon a finding of one or more of the following grounds and a finding that termination is in the best interest of the child. . .”). In a termination of parental rights case, the best interests of the child is the paramount consideration.
[T]o establish procedures for the reasonable and compassionate termination of parental rights where children are abused, neglected, or abandoned in order to protect the health and welfare of these children and make them eligible for adoption by persons who will provide a suitable home environment and the love and care necessary for a happy, healthful, and productive life.
S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1560 (Supp. 2005)
We agree with the family court’s finding the termination of Cox’s parental rights is in
KITTREDGE, SHORT, and WILLIAMS, JJ., concur.
 Cox previously had been incarcerated from May 16, 2001 until July 15, 2002.
 Cox’s prison sentence ended in July 2005.
 SCDSS filed the action against both Cox and Long, and the family court terminated both parent’s parental rights after a joint hearing; however, Cox is the sole appellant.