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2010-UP-422 - DSS v. Crystal B.

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

Charleston County Department of Social Services, Respondent,

v.

Crystal B., Donnell A., Draper L., and John Doe, Defendants,

Of whom Crystal B. is the Appellant.

In the interest of two minor children.


Appeal From Charleston County
Judy L. McMahon, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2010-UP-422
Heard September 14, 2010 – Filed September 28, 2010


AFFIRMED


Stephen L. Brown, Russell G. Hines, and Christine K. Toporek, all of Charleston, for Appellant.

Bonnie T. Brisbane, of North Charleston, for Respondent.

Bryan Gilbert Grevey, of Mount Pleasant, and Joseph Richardson, of Charleston, for Guardian ad Litem.

PER CURIAM: Crystal B. (Mother) appeals from the family court's order terminating her parental rights to her minor children (Children).  Mother argues the family court erred in terminating her parental rights because she willfully failed to support Children and Children were in foster care for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months.  Mother also appeals the family court's finding termination of parental rights (TPR) was in Children's best interests.  We disagree. 

1.  We affirm the family court's finding 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. § 63-7-2570 (2010) (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. § 63-7-2570(8) (2010) (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 that children do not languish in foster care when termination of parental rights would be in their best interests"); Id. at 101, 627 S.E.2d at 773 (noting a finding pursuant to section 63-7-2570(8) alone is sufficient to support a termination of parental rights).

2. We affirm the family court's finding Mother willfully failed to support Children.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-2570(4) (2010) (explaining another statutory ground is met when a child has lived outside the home for a period of six months and during that time the parent willfully failed to support the child); Id. ("Failure to support means that the parent has failed to make a material contribution to the child's care.  A material contribution consists of either financial contributions according to the parent's means or contributions of food, clothing, shelter, or other necessities for the care of the child according to the parent's means. The court may consider all relevant circumstances in determining whether or not the parent has wil[l]fully failed to support the child, including requests for support by the custodian and the ability of the parent to provide support."); S.C. Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Broome, 307 S.C. 48, 53, 413 S.E.2d 835, 839 (1992) ("Conduct of the parent which evinces a settled purpose to forego parental duties may fairly be characterized as 'willful' because it manifests a conscious indifference to the rights of the child to receive support and consortium from the parent.").

3. Despite Mother's arguments to the contrary, we find the Department of Social Services (DSS) proved by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother's parental rights was in the best interests of Children.  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-2620 (2010) (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."); 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 assign weight to their testimony); Id. at 102, 627 S.E.2d at 774 (declaring the best interests of the children are the paramount consideration in a TPR case).

AFFIRMED.

FEW, C.J., and WILLIAMS and KONDUROS, JJ., concur.