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2011-UP-382 - SCDSS v. Julie 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.

Chris M. and Julie M., Defendants,

Of Whom Julie M. is the Appellant.

In the interest of one minor child under the age of 18.


Appeal From Laurens County
Joseph W. McGowan, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No. 2011-UP-382 
Submitted July 1, 2011 – Filed August 4, 2011


AFFIRMED


Jonathan A. Neal, of Greenville, for Appellant.

Laura Bardsley Houck, of Laurens, for Respondent.

Donna J. Jackson, of Clinton, for Guardian ad Litem.

PER CURIAM:  Julie M. (Mother) appeals from the family court's permanency planning order awarding custody of her child (Child) to relatives and relieving the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) from providing treatment services for her.  Mother argues the family court erred in finding DSS made reasonable efforts to provide treatment services that would assist in her in remedying the cause of Child's placement in foster care.  We affirm.[1]

We find a preponderance of the evidence supports the family court's holding that DSS made reasonable efforts to provide treatment services that would assist Mother in remedying the cause of Child's placement in foster care.[2]  See S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-1640 (Supp. 2010) (identifying several factors for the family court to consider when making a determination of reasonable efforts).  Here, it was in Child's best interests for DSS to forgo reasonable efforts to provide further treatment services for Mother because of Mother's failure to complete the goals of her treatment plan as well as the necessity of providing a stable placement that could address Child's special-needs requirements.  A review of the record indicates DSS provided treatment services for Mother in the form of parenting classes and living and parenting skills training from a disability advocate.  However, Mother failed to complete her living and parenting skills training despite the disability advocate's repeated efforts to schedule appointments with her.  Additionally, DSS, the disability advocate, and the GAL all expressed strong concerns about Mother's capacity to care for Child, especially given Child's special-needs issues and Mother's inability to comprehend and apply the information she learned in order to properly care for Child without endangering Child's safety.  Accordingly, the family court did not err in finding DSS made reasonable efforts to provide treatment services for Mother.

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS and GEATHERS, JJ., and CURETON, A.J., concur.


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

[2] The family court "must make specific written findings in support of its conclusion" to either terminate or continue reasonable efforts.  S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-1640(F) (Supp. 2010).  We note the family court failed to include specific written findings supporting its decision to terminate reasonable efforts.  When an order of the family court violates Rule 26(a), SCRFC, by failing to set forth specific findings of fact and conclusions of law, this court may remand the matter to the family court or make its own findings of fact in accordance with the preponderance of the evidence if the record is sufficient to allow such a review.  Griffith v. Griffith, 332 S.C. 630, 646-47, 506 S.E.2d 526, 535 (Ct. App. 1998); see also Ex parte Morris, 367 S.C. 56, 61, 624 S.E.2d 649, 652 (2006) ("In appeals from the family court, the appellate court has the authority to find the facts in accordance with its view of the preponderance of the evidence.").  We find the record in the case at bar is sufficient to allow such a review.