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2010-UP-227 - SCDSS v. Faith M.

THIS OPINION HAS NO PRECEDENTIAL VALUE.  IT SHOULD NOT BE CITED OR RELIED ON AS PRECEDENT IN ANY PROCEEDING EXCEPT AS PROVIDED BY RULE 268(d)(2), SCACR.

THE STATE OF SOUTH CAROLINA
In The Court of Appeals

South Carolina Department of Social Services, Respondent,

v.

Faith M., Appellant,

Jerry W., Roger H., Mitchell B., David C., John Doe, Richard Roe, Charles Coe, Defendants,

Lisa C., Garrison C., and Patricia W., Respondents.

In the interests of R.A.M., J.M.M., C.D.M., and J.I.M., all minors under the age of eighteen.


Appeal From Anderson County
 Timothy M. Cain, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-227
Submitted March 1, 2010 – Filed April 1, 2010   


AFFIRMED


George L. Sands, of Anderson, for Appellant.

Dottie C. Ingram and William E. Phillips, both of Anderson; and Thomas E. Hite, Jr., of Abbeville, for Respondents.

Caroline Elizabeth Waldrep, of Anderson, Guardian Ad Litem.

PER CURIAM:  Faith M. (Mother) appeals from the family court's order terminating her parental rights (TPR) to her minor children, R.A.M., J.M.M., C.D.M., and J.I.M. (collectively the Children).  Mother argues the family court erred in finding DSS established, by clear and convincing evidence, that:  (1) Mother failed to remedy the conditions causing removal; (2) the home could not be made safe within twelve months because of the severity and repetition of abuse; (3) R.A.M., J.M.M., and C.D.M. had been in foster care for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months; and (4) TPR was in the Children's best interests.

1. We affirm the family court's finding DSS established by clear and convincing evidence Mother failed to remedy the conditions leading to the Children's removal.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-2570 (2008) (stating the family court may order TPR upon finding a statutory ground is established and also finding TPR is in the best interest of the children); § 63-7-2570(2) (2008) (explaining a statutory ground for TPR is established when "[t]he child has been removed from the parent . . . , has been out of the home for a period of six months following the adoption of a placement plan . . . and the parent has not remedied the conditions which caused the removal"). 

2. We affirm the family court's finding DSS established by clear and convincing evidence the home could not be made safe within twelve months because of the severity and repetition of abuse.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-2570 (2008) (stating the family court may order TPR upon finding a statutory ground is established and also finding TPR is in the best interest of the children); § 63-7-2570(1) (2008) (explaining a statutory ground for TPR is established when "[t]he child or another child in the home has been harmed as defined in section 63‑7‑20, and because of the severity or repetition of the abuse or neglect, it is not reasonably likely that the home can be made safe within twelve months.  In determining the likelihood that the home can be made safe, the parent's previous abuse or neglect of the child or another child in the home may be considered.").

3. We affirm the family court's finding DSS established by clear and convincing evidence R.A.M., J.M.M., and C.D.M. had been in foster care for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-2570 (2008) (stating the family court may order TPR upon finding a statutory ground is established and also finding TPR is in the best interest of the children); § 63-7-2570(8) (2008) (explaining a statutory ground for TPR is established when a child "has been in foster care under the responsibility of the State for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months").

4. Despite Mother's arguments to the contrary, we find DSS proved by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the best interests of the Children.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-2620 (2008) (explaining when the child's interests and the parental rights conflict, the child's interests shall 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."); Charleston County Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Jackson, 368 S.C. 87, 95, 627 S.E.2d 765, 770 (Ct. App. 2006) (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).

AFFIRMED.[1]

SHORT, WILLIAMS, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.


[1] We decide this case without oral argument pursuant to Rule 215, SCACR.