An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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. COA03-241


Filed: 18 November 2003

IN THE MATTER OF:                    Johnston County
JAMAL JONES                        No. 01 J 145


    Appeal by respondent mother from order filed 1 August 2002 by Judge Jacquelyn L. Lee in Johnston County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 29 October 2003.

    Jennifer S. O'Connor for petitioner-appellee Johnston County Department of Social Services.

    Attorney Advocate James D. Johnson, Jr. for guardian ad litem- appellee.

    Angela H. Brown for respondent-appellant.

    BRYANT, Judge.

    Vanessa Koehli (respondent) appeals an order entered 1 August 2002 terminating her parental rights over her son Jamal Jones.
    On 20 December 2001, the Johnston County Department of Social Services (DSS) filed a petition to terminate respondent's parental rights over Jamal, who was just under four years old at the time. DSS alleged that respondent had neglected Jamal, and there was “little improvement in her ability to care for the child and the probability of a repetition of neglect if the child [were] returned home.” DSS additionally alleged that, although respondent was physically and financially able, she had willfully failed to pay a reasonable portion of the cost for Jamal's care while he was in DSScustody.
    On 3 July 2002, a hearing was held on the petition to terminate respondent's parental rights. Subsequently, the trial court found in its 1 August 2002 order that: (1) Jamal had been adjudicated a neglected and dependent juvenile on 15 August 2001 and custody placed with DSS; (2) respondent had not obtained or maintained stable housing or employment; (3) she had failed to take any action to parent Jamal since his removal from her care and abandoned her responsibility as a parent; and (4) she had sporadic employment after Jamal was removed from her care but did not pay for any support or care for him while he was in foster care. The trial court further found that DSS attempted to work with respondent toward reunification. All efforts, however, were unsuccessful because respondent refused to cooperate and left the area without providing contact information. Finally, the trial court found that respondent failed to provide any evidence of a change in the conditions that led to Jamal's removal. Accordingly, the trial court concluded grounds for termination of respondent's parental rights existed under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(1) (neglect) and (3) (failure to provide support for juvenile while in foster care) and that it was in Jamal's best interest to terminate respondent's parental rights.


    The sole issue is whether the trial court's findings are supported by the evidence.
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111 sets out the statutory grounds forthe termination of parental rights. See N.C.G.S. § 7B-1111 (2001). A finding of any one of the separately enumerated grounds is sufficient to support a termination. In re Taylor, 97 N.C. App. 57, 64, 387 S.E.2d 230, 233-34 (1990). “[T]he party petitioning for the termination must show by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that grounds authorizing the termination of parental rights exist.” In re Young, 346 N.C. 244, 247, 485 S.E.2d 612, 614 (1997).
    In the case sub judice, the trial court found that respondent had neglected Jamal and that there was likelihood the neglect would be repeated if he were returned to respondent. In making its findings and conclusions, the trial court relied on the testimony of Jennifer Hughes, a DSS social worker. Hughes testified that respondent: (1) would leave Jamal with various individuals for extended periods of time without disclosing her whereabouts, a way of contacting her, or granting legal authority to provide medical treatment for the child should the need arise, (2) violated a protection plan by being the sole caretaker for Jamal while under the influence of alcohol, (3) failed to obtain stable housing or employment, (4) failed to substantiate claims that she had addressed her substance abuse or domestic violence issues and refused to submit to a drug test, and (5) did not provide any support, cards, or gifts to Jamal while in DSS custody. Respondent also acknowledged that even though she had a history of domestic violence with Kareem Muhammad, the man with whom she lived, she and Jamal continued to stay with him, and respondent allowed Muhammadto provide care for Jamal. Finally, despite the evidence of her past neglect of Jamal and a history of substance abuse and domestic violence, respondent testified that she was not at fault. Instead, respondent contended that DSS “stole” Jamal, and if he were returned, she would “continue taking care of [her] son just like [she] always took care of [her] children.” Although petitioner takes issue with several of the trial court's findings, her testimony, along with Hughes' testimony, presented clear, cogent, and convincing evidence to support the trial court's findings, which in turn support the conclusion that Jamal was a neglected juvenile pursuant to section 7B-1111(a)(1). See N.C.G.S. § 7B- 101(15) (2001) (defining a neglected juvenile as one “who does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline from the juvenile's parent”); see also In re Reyes, 136 N.C. App. 812, 815, 526 S.E.2d 499, 501 (2000) (“[i]f there is no evidence of neglect at the time of the termination proceeding, . . . parental rights may nonetheless be terminated if there is a showing of a past adjudication of neglect and the trial court finds by clear and convincing evidence a probability of repetition of neglect if the juvenile were returned to [his or] her parents”).
    Since grounds exist pursuant to section 7B-1111(a)(1) to support the trial court's order, we need not review the additional ground found by the trial court to support termination. See Taylor, 97 N.C. App. at 64, 387 S.E.2d at 233-34. Accordingly, the assignment of error is overruled.
    In her brief to this Court, respondent also argues the trialcourt erred by failing to make any findings or conclusions on the record at the termination of parental rights hearing. Respondent, however, has failed to raise this issue in her assignments of error. Thus, it is not properly before this Court. See N.C.R. App. P. 10(a) (“the scope of review on appeal is confined to a consideration of those assignments of error set out in the record on appeal”).
    Chief Judge EAGLES and Judge LEVINSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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