IN RE E.K. ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Tanja Trezise on Jan 28, 2014

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

John McMurray Johnson, Madisonville, Tennessee, for the appellant, D.K., Sr.

Attorneys 2:

Robert E. Cooper, Jr., Attorney General and Reporter, and Leslie Curry, Assistant Attorney General, Nashville, Tennessee, for the appellee, Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

Judge(s): SUSANO

D.K., Sr., (“Father”) appeals the termination of his rights to his three minor daughters E.K., H.K., and H.K. (collectively, “the Children”). The Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) had a history of involvement with Father, the Children, and another older minor child, D.K., Jr. In 2007, all four children were taken into protective custody following an incident of domestic violence between Father and his then-wife, C.K. (“Stepmother”). In the earlier matter, custody of the four children was awarded to Stepmother; Father was allowed supervised visitation. In 2012, the Children were placed in the protective custody of DCS following allegations of physical and psychological abuse by Stepmother. Father was not a placement option because of “ongoing Juvenile Court matters” concerning D.K. Jr. as well as a lack of space in his home. Stepmother waived her right to a hearing and the Children were adjudicated dependent and neglected by an agreed order. They entered DCS custody and were placed in foster care. A year later, DCS initiated termination proceedings. After a bench trial, the court terminated Father’s rights based on his failure to comply substantially with the requirements of the Children’s permanency plans. The court further found that termination was in the best interest of the Children. Both findings were said by the court to be made by clear and convincing evidence. Father appeals and challenges each of these determinations. We affirm.