An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA02-1194


Filed: 20 May 2003

                                      Mecklenburg County
RAKALA BRIANNA GRAHAM,                     No. 01-J-585
    a minor child

    Appeal by respondent from order entered 18 January 2002 by Judge Resa L. Harris in Mecklenburg County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 5 May 2003.

    Associate County Attorney Tyrone C. Wade for Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services, Division of Youth & Family Services petitioner appellee.

    Joseph F. Dodge for Felicia Graham respondent appellant.

    McCULLOUGH, Judge.

    Felicia Graham (respondent) appeals from the trial court's order of 18 January 2002 which terminated her parental rights to her daughter Rakala Brianna Graham. Rakala was born on 23 February 1997, and the trial court placed her in foster care on 3 February 2000. The trial court subsequently adjudicated her to be an abused, neglected and dependent juvenile on 5 April 2000. In a 3 May 2000 dispositional order, the trial court directed respondent to undertake domestic violence counseling through the Women's Commission, submit to a substance abuse assessment and psychological evaluation, and follow the case plan and recommendations of the Division of Youth and Family Services of the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services (DSS).    Respondent did not appear at a 12 July 2000 review hearing, but her counsel was present. After finding that respondent had not complied with the requirements of her case plan and that her address was unknown, the trial court ordered respondent to provide financial information within thirty days to allow it to assess care or support payments. Respondent again failed to attend a review hearing on 10 October 2000. After finding that respondent had not been visiting the child on a regular basis, the trial court suspended further visits until respondent appeared in court. Respondent did attend a review hearing on 14 December 2000, and the trial court advised her that she could “do the things previously ordered by the court” and that “her efforts [would] be considered” at the next hearing.
    Petitioner filed a petition on 30 May 2001 to terminate respondent's parental rights on the following grounds: (1) respondent neglected Rakala; (2) respondent willfully left Rakala in foster care for more than twelve months without showing reasonable progress under the circumstances; (3) respondent willfully failed to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of Rakala's foster care for a continuous period of more than six months; (4) respondent willfully abandoned Rakala for at least six consecutive months; and (5) respondent had had her parental rights to another child terminated involuntarily. See N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(1), (2), (3), (7) and (9) (2001).
    The trial court heard the petition on 13 December 2001. In its order entered 18 January 2002, the trial court made thefollowing findings of fact on the basis of clear, cogent, and convincing evidence:
            3.    That the juvenile in this case was placed in the custody of the Mecklenburg County [DSS] on February 3, 2000 and adjudicated an abused, neglected and dependent juvenile on April 5, 2000.

            4.    That at the time the juvenile was placed in the custody of [DSS], she, along with a younger sibling, resided with the mother along with the mother's domestic partner in an environment where there was domestic violence.

                * * * *

            7.    That after DSS became involved in Gaston County, respondent mother relocated to Mecklenburg County along with Mr. Hicklin . . . . The case was thereafter transferred to Mecklenburg County and DSS in Mecklenburg began to provide services for the mother and the children. The respondent mother failed to cooperate with the requirements of the Department and this juvenile, along with a younger sibling, were eventually removed from the home due to the home environment and the mother's failure to comply with the requests of the Department.
            8.    That prior to relocating to Mecklenburg County, respondent mother had left the juveniles with a relative, Princess Smith, on or about July 2, 1999 and did not reappear until October of the same year.
            9.    That during her absence, respondent mother did not contact the relative or inquire as to the welfare of the juveniles.

                    10.    That the relative . . . observed scars and bruises on the juvenile's legs and buttocks. In addition, the relative observed that the vagina area of the juvenile was swollen to the size of the relative's fist.

            * * * *

            14.    That respondent mother reappeared in October, 1999 and asked for the juvenile to be returned to her care, however, due to the mother's living condition and the concerns of the relatives, she refused. The mother admitted she had used controlled substancesand was dancing as a stripper during her absence.    
    15.    That some time in November 1999, the juvenile[]s were returned to the mother's care . . . . It was not long thereafter that the mother relocated to Mecklenburg County . . . .
            16.    That a Petition was filed to remove the juveniles from the environment. A case plan was developed by DSS which included the following: the mother was to obtain an assessment at the McLeod Center and follow their recommendations, obtain a psychological evaluation; participate in domestic violence counseling; and the mother was to visit on a regular and consistent basis . . . .
            17.    That the mother failed to fully comply with the recommendation of [DSS]. She stopped attending visits in July 2000 and her whereabouts, thereafter, became unknown. There was no contact for a significant period of time and her visits were, thereafter suspended.
            18.    That the mother reappeared in December, 2000 after the Termination Petition on the younger sibling had been filed. . . . 
            19.    That respondent mother began domestic violence counseling but failed to follow through and complete the program.
            20.    That respondent mother has not maintained consistent and steady employment. She was employed for a period of time, but quit the job offering no credible testimony for why she quit. . . .

    * * * *

            28.    That it has cost $10,350 to maintain the juvenile in foster care and against that amount, respondent mother has contributed no money to defray the cost of foster care placement.

    * * * *

            32.    That parental rights to a younger sibling, Areanna Graham, were involuntarily terminated on May 24, 2001. The findings of that Order are incorporated herein by reference as though more fully set forth in this Order.
    The trial court then concluded that each of the grounds for terminating respondent's parental rights alleged by DSS existed, as follows:
            7.    That respondent mother has neglected the above- named juvenile as that term is defined by NCGS §7B- 101(15) and that she has failed to provide proper care, supervision and discipline for the juvenile . . . .

        * * * *

            9.    That the juvenile has been placed in the custody of the Mecklenburg County Department of Social Services and respondent mother for a continuous period of more than six months next preceding the filing of this petition has willfully failed for such period to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of care for aforesaid juvenile although physically and financially able to do so.

            10.    That respondent mother has willfully left the juvenile in foster care for more than twelve months without showing to the satisfaction of the court that reasonable progress under the circumstances has been made within twelve months in correcting those conditions which [led] to the removal of the juvenile.

            11.    That respondent mother has willfully abandoned the juvenile for at least six consecutive months immediately preceding the filing of this Petition . . . .

            12.    The Court further concludes that respondent mother was able to do the things necessary to move the case along, but failed to do so and only at the end of the period did the mother begin to make any progress towards achieving the case plan objectives. She still failed to fully comply with the case plan requirements.

            13.    That parental rights to a younger sibling were involuntarily terminated in May 2001.

            14.    That the best interests of the above-named juvenile would be served by the termination of parental rights of respondent with respect to this juvenile.
On the basis of these and other conclusions of law, the trial court terminated respondent's parental rights. From the trial court's order, respondent appeals.
    Respondent contends the trial court erred by concluding that she had willfully abandoned Rakala for six months, see N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(7) (2001), and that she had willfully failed to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of Rakala's care, see N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(3). She has not challenged the trial court's conclusions as to the three remaining grounds for terminating her parental rights. Her arguments are not persuasive.
    This Court's “scope of review on appeal is confined to a consideration of those assignments of error set out in the record on appeal,” N.C.R. App. P. 10(a) (2003), and which are properly presented and discussed in the appellant's brief. See N.C.R. App. P. 28(a) (2003). A finding of any one of the grounds for termination of parental rights found in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B- 1111(a) is sufficient to support termination. In re Faircloth, ___ N.C. App. ___, ___, 571 S.E.2d 65, 73 (2002). While respondent does address two of the trial court's grounds for terminating her parental rights (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(3) and (7)), she did not present any arguments as to the trial court's three additional grounds for termination (N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(1), (2) and (9)). As a result of respondent's failure to assign error and present arguments as to those additional grounds for termination, those grounds are not within this Court's scope of review. Faircloth, ___ N.C. App. at ___, 571 S.E.2d at 73. Because any oneof the three additional grounds is sufficient to support the trial court's decision to terminate respondent's parental rights, respondent's arguments as to only two of the five grounds are ineffectual.
    In her remaining argument, respondent contends the trial court did not make sufficient findings of fact to support its conclusion that termination was in the best interests of the child. Because respondent has not specifically assigned error to any of the trial court's findings of fact, those findings are conclusive on appeal. In re Caldwell, 75 N.C. App. 299, 301, 330 S.E.2d 513, 515 (1985). Having reviewed the trial court's extensive findings of fact, we hold those findings of fact do support the trial court's conclusion that termination of respondent's parental rights was in the best interests of the child. In re Huff, 140 N.C. App. 288, 291, 536 S.E.2d 838, 840 (2000), appeal dismissed and disc. review denied, 353 N.C. 374, 547 S.E.2d 9 (2001). We therefore affirm the trial court's order terminating respondent's parental rights.
    Judges MARTIN and CALABRIA concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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