IN RE SOPHIE O. ET AL. - Articles

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Posted by: Stacey Shrader Joslin on Dec 27, 2016

Court: TN Court of Appeals

Attorneys 1:

Gregory E. Bennett, Seymour, Tennessee, for the appellant, Erin M.

Attorneys 2:

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

Judge(s): CLEMENT

This appeal arises from the termination of Mother’s parental rights. The minor children at issue were removed from Mother’s custody after the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (“DCS”) received referrals alleging that Mother was abusing drugs and that one of the children tested positive for opioids at the time of his birth. Thereafter, the juvenile court adjudicated the children dependent and neglected and found that Mother’s drug use while pregnant constituted severe child abuse. The children were subsequently placed in the custody of their father, and Mother was ordered to have no contact with the children. After it was discovered that Mother had violated the order by living with the children and their father, the children were once again placed in state custody. DCS then filed a petition to terminate Mother’s parental rights on the grounds of severe abuse, abandonment by wanton disregard and failure to support, substantial noncompliance with a permanency plan, and persistence of conditions. The juvenile court found that each of these grounds existed and that termination was in the children’s best interests. Mother appealed; we affirm.