IN RE DUSTIN L. ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Landry Butler on Sep 28, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Paul L. Sexton, Oak Ridge, Tennessee, for the appellant, Tonya F.

Darrell W. Sproles, Wartburg, Tennessee, for the appellant, Joshua F.

Attorneys 2:

Herbert H. Slatery, III, Attorney General and Reporter, and Rachel E. Buckley, Assistant Attorney General, for the appellee, State of Tennessee Department of Children’s Services.

L. Rosillo Mulligan, Harriman, Tennessee, Guardian Ad Litem.

Judge(s): FRIERSON

This is a termination of parental rights case focusing on the six minor children of Tonya F. (“Mother”) and Joshua F. (“Father”). On February 9, 2015, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) filed a petition to terminate the parental rights of Mother and Father. DCS alleged as a basis for termination the statutory grounds of (1) failure to provide a suitable home, (2) substantial noncompliance with the permanency plans, and (3) persistence of the conditions leading to removal of the children. Following a bench trial, the trial court granted the petition upon its determination by clear and convincing evidence that DCS had proven all three statutory grounds alleged. The court further determined by clear and convincing evidence that termination of Mother’s and Father’s parental rights was in the children’s best interest. Mother and Father have appealed. Inasmuch as DCS has conceded that the elements of abandonment through failure to provide a suitable home were not proven as to either party, we reverse this statutory ground. We affirm the trial court’s judgment in all other respects, including the termination of Mother’s and Father’s parental rights to the children.