Supreme Court Seal
South Carolina
JUDICIAL DEPARTMENT
Site Map | Feedback
2012-UP-173 - SCDSS v. Jacqueline C.

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.

Jacqueline C., James H., and Martin C., Defendants,

Of whom Jacqueline C. is the Appellant.

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


Appeal From York County
Henry T. Woods, Family Court Judge


Unpublished Opinion No.  2012-UP-173 
Submitted March 1, 2012 – Filed March 9, 2012


AFFIRMED


Matthew Jeffrey Lester, of Charlotte, North Carolina, for Appellant.

David E. Simpson, of Rock Hill, for Respondent.

Rosalee Davis, of Lancaster, for Guardian ad Litem.

PER CURIAM:  Jacqueline C. (Mother) appeals from the family court's final order granting termination of parental rights (TPR) to her minor child (Child), arguing the family court erred in: (1) terminating parental rights when the Department of Social Services' (DSS) complaint did not contain sufficient underlying factual circumstances to support the grounds of TPR; (2) applying a recently amended statute to prevent extension of a permanency plan longer than eighteen months after Child entered foster care; (3) granting TPR on the fifteen of twenty-two months ground and the ground that Child was in foster care for eighteen months when these grounds were not pled or in existence at the time of DSS's complaint; and (4) failing to provide the notice required by section 63-7-1680(G) of the South Carolina Code (Supp. 2011).  We affirm.[1] 

As to Mother's issue regarding the sufficiency of the pleadings: "A petition for [TPR] must set forth the: . . . (6) grounds on which [TPR] are sought and the underlying factual circumstances."  S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-2540(6) (2010).  Here, the TPR complaint contains sufficient factual pleadings to apprise Mother of the action pending against her.  Moreover, this issue was never raised to the family court.  Accordingly, this argument is without merit. 

As to Mother's issue regarding the extension of a permanency plan longer than eighteen months: If at the permanency plan hearing, the family court determines custody of the child should not yet be returned, "but that the child may be returned to the parent within a specified reasonable time not to exceed eighteen months after the child was placed in foster care, the court may order an extension of the [placement] plan."  S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-1700(F) (Supp. 2011).  The amended statute would apply because it was effective at the time of the TPR hearing.  This section restricts the family court from extending a plan to reunify the parents with Child past a period of eighteen months.  Because extending a placement plan of reunification would exceed this limit, the family court did not err.  Accordingly, we affirm.

As to Mother's issue regarding the failure to provide the notice required by statute: "The court shall include in its order and shall advise defendants on the record that failure to remedy the conditions that caused the removal within six months, may result in termination of parental rights . . . ."  S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-1680(G) (Supp. 2011).  Here, the family court followed the law at the time it adopted the placement plan, and Mother received warning that failure to comply could result in TPR.  Accordingly, this issue is without merit.

As to Mother's remaining issues: Mother failed to challenge two of the statutory grounds for TPR and the finding that TPR was in Child's best interest.  Therefore, these findings are the law of the case.  See Transp. Ins. Co. & Flagstar Corp. v. S.C. Second Injury Fund, 389 S.C. 422, 431, 699 S.E.2d 687, 691 (2010) ("An unappealed ruling is the law of the case and requires affirmance."); see also S.C. Code Ann. § 63-7-2570 (Supp. 2011) (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).  Moreover, the record supports terminating Mother's parental rights on the grounds set forth in the family court's order and the finding that TPR is in Child's best interest.

AFFIRMED.

WILLIAMS, THOMAS, and LOCKEMY, JJ., concur.


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