Heard in the Court of Appeals 29 September 2014.
Susan Curtis Campbell for petitioner-appellee Surry County Department of Social Services.
Mercedes O. Chut for respondent-appellant mother.
Administrative Office of the Courts, by Appellate Counsel Tawanda N. Foster, for guardian ad litem.
Mr. Jay Audino, Primary Attorney, Attorney at Law, Greenville, NC, for Respondent-Appellant.
McCULLOUGH, Judge. Judges CALABRIA and STEELMAN concur.
Appeal by respondent mother from order entered 16 December 2013 by Judge David V. Byrd in Surry County District Court, No. 12 JT 09.
Respondent mother appeals from an order entered 16 December 2013, which terminated her parental rights to her minor child, L.R.S. (" Lilly" ). Because the trial court's conclusion that the ground of dependency existed to terminate respondent's parental rights is supported by its findings of fact and record evidence, we affirm.
The Surry County Department of Social Services (" DSS" ) became involved with respondent and Lilly in January of 2012 when
it obtained non-secure custody of Lilly and filed a petition alleging she was a neglected and dependent juvenile. At the time of the filing of the petition, Lilly was just two months old, respondent had been arrested and jailed on criminal charges, and Lilly's father was incarcerated with the North Carolina Department of Public Safety. After a hearing on 8 March 2012, the trial court entered adjudication and disposition orders on 4 April 2012, concluding Lilly was a neglected and dependent juvenile and continuing custody of Lilly with DSS. At the time of the entry of the court's orders, respondent lived in a residential facility in Wake County pursuant to a pre-trial release order for pending federal criminal charges.
Over the next several months, respondent resided in residential facilities awaiting disposition of her federal criminal charges. Respondent regularly visited with Lilly until 18 December 2012, when she was expelled from the residential facility for not complying with its rules. In January 2013, respondent was convicted of her federal criminal charges and sentenced to a term of 38 months imprisonment. Respondent was subsequently transported to a federal correctional institution in Danbury, Connecticut to serve her sentence. In a permanency planning order entered 11 March 2013, the trial court relieved DSS of further reunification efforts with both parents, set the permanent plan for Lilly as adoption, and directed DSS to initiate an action to terminate parental rights.
On 18 March 2013, DSS filed a motion for the termination of parental rights to Lilly. After a hearing on 28 August 2013, the trial court entered an order terminating the parental rights of both respondent and Lilly's father. The court concluded grounds existed to terminate respondent's parental rights based on neglect and dependency, see N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(1), (6) ...