State of Utah, in the interest of V.B. and J.B.Annotate this Case
State of Utah, in the interest
of V.B. and J.B.,
persons under eighteen years of age.
State of Utah,
(Not For Official Publication)
Case No. 20000191-CA
F I L E D
August 2, 2001 2001 UT App 234 -----
Fifth District Juvenile,
St. George Department
The Honorable Hans Q. Chamberlain
Kenneth L. Combs, St. George, for Appellant
Mark L. Shurtleff, John Peterson, and Carol L.C. Verdoia, Salt Lake City, for Appellee
Martha Pierce and Angela Adams, Salt Lake City, Guardians Ad Litem
Before Judges Bench, Billings, and Orme.
Under the plain language of Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-407 (1996), a juvenile court may terminate a parent's rights if it finds any one of the grounds enumerated therein. See In re M.E.C., 942 P.2d 955, 959 (Utah Ct. App. 1997). M.B.'s parental rights were terminated for the following enumerated grounds: 1) neglect; 2) unfitness or incompetence; 3) failure of parental adjustment; and 4) inadequate efforts to prevent abuse or neglect or to avoid being unfit. See Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-407(2)-(6).
The evidence supports the trial court's termination of M.B.'s parental rights. M.B. suffers from chronic alcoholism and serious personality disorders, which have adversely impacted her ability to care for her children. She has had brief periods of sobriety, but has never successfully completed an alcohol treatment program and has had repeated relapses. V.B. and J.B. have been removed from M.B.'s care several times, and, in spite of reunification efforts by the State, M.B. has not been able to provide a stable, safe environment for her children. V.B. was repeatedly sexually abused by her stepfather while in M.B.'s care, and M.B. continued her relationship with the stepfather even after his incarceration.
M.B. contends that her parental rights should not have been terminated because she was not permitted to finish the rehabilitative portion of her service plan. However, the evidence does not support this assertion. She received more than the required reunification services and did not successfully complete her service plans. Moreover, a juvenile court has the statutory authority to terminate a parent's rights based on a finding of neglect, unfitness, and token efforts, regardless of whether the State provided any services. See In re M.E.C., 942 P.2d 955, 960 (Utah Ct. App. 1997).
As this court noted in In re C.Y., 765 P.2d 251 (Utah Ct. App. 1988), "[i]f after a reasonable period of time, no positive change in parenting skills occur[s], a termination of parental rights is appropriate. Children cannot remain in limbo indefinitely where there is no reasonable likelihood of their parents gaining necessary parenting abilities." Id. at 255-56.
The trial court's decision
to terminate M.B.'s parental rights is supported by clear and convincing
evidence. See Utah Code Ann. § 78-3a-406(3) (1996). Accordingly,
the termination order is affirmed.
Russell W. Bench, Judge
Judith M. Billings, Judge
Gregory K. Orme, Judge