In re D.S.Annotate this Case
Mother and father separately appeal from a family court judgment terminating their parental rights to the minor D.S. In March 2014, a CHINS petition as to D.S. was filed shortly before his birth based on the parents’ pattern of neglect of his older siblings. At the termination hearing, the trial court found no evidence that mother had made any progress in addressing her mental health and substance abuse issues, neither parent had visited the child consistently, and neither had taken advantage of parenting services and educational opportunities. Furthermore, father had not obtained suitable housing. Based on these findings, the court concluded that neither parent could resume parental responsibilities within a reasonable time measured from the perspective of a young child’s paramount need for permanence. The child, in the interim, had adjusted well to his foster home and community. Accordingly, the trial court concluded that termination of parental rights was in the child’s best interests. On appeal of the termination, both parents contended the trial court erred in: (1) failing to hold an evidentiary hearing on the issue of whether to transfer custody of D.S. to the State following his birth; and (2) barring relitigation of factual findings from an earlier CHINS adjudication concerning D.S. and termination-of-parental rights proceeding concerning D.S.’s siblings. Father also contended the court erred in terminating his parental rights based on factors beyond his control. Finding no reversible error, the Supreme Court affirmed.