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2008-UP-559 - SCDSS v. Katrina P.

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 SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

South Carolina Department of Social Services, Respondent,

v.

Katrina P. and William C. Defendants,

Of Whom Katrina P. is the Appellant.

In the interests of D.C. and D.C., two minor children under the age of 18.


Appeal From Barnwell County
C. David Sawyer, Jr., Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2008-UP-559
Heard September 17, 2008 – Filed October 9, 2008


AFFIRMED


Mitchell J. Williams, of Columbia, for Appellant.

Dennis M. Gmerek, of Aiken, for Respondent.

Angela W. Abstance, of Barnwell, for Guardian Ad Litem.

PER CURIAM: Katrina P. (Mother) appeals from the family court’s order terminating her parental rights (TPR) to two minor children.  Mother argues the family court erred in finding TPR was in her children’s best interests.  We disagree.

1.  We affirm the family court’s finding the children resided in foster care, under the responsibility of the state, for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1572 (Supp. 2007)[1] (stating the family court may order TPR upon finding one or more of eleven statutory grounds is satisfied and also finding TPR is in the best interest of the child); S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1572(8) (Supp. 2007) (explaining one statutory ground for TPR is met when “[t]he child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the State for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months”); Charleston County Dep’t of Soc. Servs. v. Jackson, 368 S.C. 87, 101-02, 627 S.E.2d 765, 773 (Ct. App. 2006) (noting the purpose of this statutory ground “is to ensure children do not languish in foster care when termination of parental rights would be in their best interests”).  

2.  Furthermore, despite Mother’s arguments to the contrary, we find the family court did not err in finding clear and convincing evidence supported a finding that termination of Mother’s parental rights is in the best interests of her children.  S.C. Code Ann. § 20-7-1578 (Supp. 2007) (explaining if the parent’s and children’s interests conflict, the children’s interests prevail); Charleston County Dep’t of Soc. Servs. v. King, 369 S.C. 96, 105, 631 S.E.2d 239, 244 (2006) (“When reviewing the family court decision, appellate courts may make their own conclusions of whether DSS proved by clear and convincing evidence that parental rights should be terminated.”); Jackson, 368 S.C. at 95, 627 S.E.2d at 770 (stating despite the appellate court’s broad scope of review, it should not necessarily disregard the findings of the family court, which was in a better position to evaluate the credibility of the witnesses and to assign weight to their testimony); S.C. Dep’t of Soc. Servs. v. Smith, 343 S.C. 129, 133, 538 S.E.2d 285, 287 (Ct. App. 2000) (declaring the best interests of the children are the paramount consideration in a TPR case).

Accordingly, the family court order terminating Mother’s parental rights is  

AFFIRMED.

HEARN, C.J., and HUFF and KONDUROS, JJ., concur. 


[1] The General Assembly amended the Code of Laws of South Carolina, effective June 16, 2008, to add Title 63, the South Carolina Children’s Code, and to transfer all provisions of Title 20, Chapter 7 to Title 63.  See Act No. 361, 2008 S.C. Acts 3623 (stating “the transfer and reorganization of the code provisions in this act are technical . . . and are not intended to be substantive”).  Because Title 63 has not yet been bound, all citations to the statute refer to Title 20.