An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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. COA03-282
                
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NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS
        
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Filed: 6 January 2004

IN RE:            
SHI'ESHA HUNTER                    Nash County
A Minor Child,                        No. 02-J-41
DOB: 3-10-01                        

    

    Appeal by respondent from an order entered 1 November 2002, nunc pro tunc 5 September 2002, by Judge William G. Stewart in Nash County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 22 December 2003.

    Jayne B. Norwood, for petitioner-appellee Nash County Department of Social Services, and Judith L. Kornegay, for guardian ad litem.
    
    Terry W. Alford for respondent-appellant.

    LEVINSON, Judge.

    Shi'Esha Hunter, born 10 March 2001, is the eighth child of respondent. Respondent has several other children who are not in her custody and who have either aged out of the jurisdiction of the juvenile court system or have been placed with relatives by the juvenile court system. Respondent's parental rights to another child, Iesha Fields, were terminated by order entered in District Court on 26 July 2001.
    On 9 August 2001, the Nash County Department of Social Services (“DSS”) received a protective services referral alleging that Shi'Esha's parents were engaged in a fight in which respondentwas armed with a knife and that during the fight, Shi'Esha was placed on the trunk of an unattended vehicle parked in the street. On 6 September 2001, DSS filed a petition alleging that Shi'Esha was a neglected and dependent juvenile, and she was placed in the custody of DSS on that date.
    In an order entered on 1 November 2001, Shi'Esha was adjudicated a dependent juvenile pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7B-101(9) in that respondent (1) did not have stable housing, (2) had recently tested positive for alcohol use in August 2001 and for cocaine use in October 2001 but continued to deny using alcohol or drugs, and (3) had previously had several of her other children removed for similar issues, which she had repeatedly failed to address. The trial court determined that respondent should “continue with mental health counseling, including substance abuse, random drug testing and anger management until she is released in writing for successfully completing therapy.” The court further provided that respondent should obtain a substance abuse assessment, complete parenting classes, pay regular child support, maintain frequent contact with her social worker regarding visits with Shi'Esha, and “continue with her plans to gain full time stable employment and stable housing and demonstrate that she can provide for her child.”
    Respondent entered into a case plan with DSS to address the issues which led to the removal of the child; however, respondent did not comply with the terms of the case plan. She failed to secure employment, and quit the employment training program priorto completion. She did not obtain a residence of her own. She did not complete mental health counseling, and she testified at the permanency planning hearing that she did not intend to return to counseling and admitted to continuing to drink. Respondent missed eleven scheduled visits with Shi'Esha and went long periods of time without seeing the child.
    On 12 April 2002, DSS filed a petition to terminate respondent's parental rights alleging that one or more of the following grounds existed to support the termination pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7B-1111: (1) respondent neglected Shi'Esha; (2) Shi'Esha had been in the custody of DSS for six months and respondent had willfully failed to pay a reasonable portion of the cost of child care; (3) Shi'Esha was a dependent juvenile in that respondent was incapable of providing for her proper care and supervision; and (4) respondent's parental rights to another child had been terminated involuntarily and that she lacked the ability or willingness to establish a safe home.
    On 5 September 2002, a hearing was held on the petition to terminate respondent's parental rights. The trial court found that respondent had failed to address the issues that led to the removal of Shi'Esha. The trial court made the following specific findings of fact:
        7. . . . [Respondent] has not secured employment and in fact quit the employment training program at Tri-County Industries before she completed the program. She has no residence of her own and has resided with friends and family since October 2001. [She] initially attended [mental health] counseling . . . but did not complete the program and         testified herself . . . that she did not intend to return to therapy and admitted that she continues to drink. [Respondent] did not visit regularly with Shi'Esha.     

        . . . .

        9. [Respondent] has a mental health diagnosis of mixed personality traits, substance abuse, and alcohol and cocaine dependency and has not consistently sought counseling to address any of those issues. Shortly before Shi'Esha was born and shortly after she was born, [respondent] was admitted to Coastal Plain Hospital. She admitted to drinking and using drugs and on one of those admissions had attempted to commit suicide. Her prognosis upon discharge was noted as being poor.

        10. That [respondent] was on Intensive Probation . . . until she absconded . . . .[Respondent] has had numerous convictions for numerous crimes stemming as far back as 1992. She has served time in prison for Assault with a Deadly Weapon and had only been released from parole a short time when Shi'Esha was born. [Respondent] was placed on intensive probation . . . for larceny and shoplifting convictions. Some of these offenses occurred within less than six months of Shi'Esha's birth. After being placed on intensive probation, [respondent] absconded by leaving her residence with electronic monitoring equipment and her whereabouts were unknown until . . . she was located based on an anonymous tip made to local law enforcement. . . .

        11. [Respondent] has not been employed since Shi'Esha was placed in the non-secure custody of [DSS] although physically able to maintain employment

        . . . .

        16. [Shi'Esha] has had one foster care placement and is extremely well cared for. She is developmentally on target and no barriers exist that would prevent adoption from being the appropriate permanent plan.

The trial court concluded that there were “sufficient, clear,cogent and convincing facts to terminate the parental rights of [respondent] to Shi'Esha . . . pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7B-1111.” The trial court further concluded that it was in Shi'Esha's best interests that respondent's parental rights be terminated. Respondent appeals from the trial court's order terminating her parental rights to Shi'Esha.
    On appeal respondent argues that there was insufficient evidence to support the trial court's findings of fact and conclusions of law. Specifically, respondent contends that no statutory ground for termination exists, and the trial court, therefore, erred in determining that it had authority to terminate her parental rights. Respondent makes arguments with respect to several of the grounds for terminating parental rights enumerated in N.C.G.S. § 7B-1111 (2003); however, we conclude that we only need address respondent's argument that there is no evidence and no specific finding that her alcohol and substance abuse problems had an adverse impact on her child such that termination is justified pursuant to N.C.G.S. § 7B-1111(a)(6) (2003). For the reasons set forth below, we affirm the trial court.
    G.S. § 7B-1111(a)(6) sets forth the following grounds for terminating parental rights:
        (a) The court may terminate the parental rights upon a finding of . . . the following:
        (6) That the parent is incapable of providing for the proper care and supervision of the juvenile, such that the juvenile is a dependent juvenile within the meaning of G.S. 7B-101, and that there is a reasonable probability that such incapability will continue for the foreseeable future. Incapability under this subdivision may be theresult of substance abuse, mental retardation, mental illness, organic brain syndrome, or any other similar cause or condition.

A “dependent juvenile” is “[a] juvenile in need of assistance or placement because the juvenile has no parent, guardian, or custodian responsible for the juvenile's care or supervision or whose parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to provide for the care or supervision and lacks an appropriate alternative child care arrangement.” N.C.G.S. § 7B-101(9) (2003). A finding of any one of the separately enumerated grounds in G.S. § 7B-1111 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 entered the following conclusion of law, which parallels the language of G.S. § 7B- 101(9): “Respondent is incapable as a result of long term substance and alcohol abuse of providing for the proper care and supervision of [Shi'Esha], such that the child is a dependent juvenile within the meaning of N.C.G.S. § 7B-101(9), and there is a reasonable probability that such incapability will continue for the foreseeable future.” We find that this conclusion is supported by the trial court's findings of fact, which are in turn supported by clear, cogent and convincing evidence.
    Specifically, the trial court's conclusion of law with respectto dependancy-related incapacity is supported by the following findings of fact:
        7. . . . [Respondent] initially attended counseling at Edgecombe Nash Mental Health, but did not complete the program and testified herself at the permanency planning hearing . . . that she continues to drink. . . .

        9. [Respondent] has a mental health diagnosis of . . . substance abuse[] and alcohol and cocaine dependency and has not consistently sought counseling to address any of those issues. Shortly before Shi'Esha was born and shortly after she was born, [respondent] was admitted to Coastal Plain Hospital. She admitted to drinking and using drugs and on one of those admissions had attempted to commit suicide. Her prognosis upon discharge was noted as being poor.

These findings support the trial court's conclusion for the following reasons: Inasmuch as respondent's substance abuse problems were resulting in her being admitted to institutions and were causing her to be suicidal, her substance abuse problems had an immediate adverse impact on Shi'Esha. See In re Phifer, 67 N.C. App. 16, 25, 312 S.E.2d 684, 689 (1984) (holding, under a predecessor of G.S. § 7B-1111, that “[a] finding of fact that a parent abuses alcohol, without proof of adverse impact upon the child, is not a sufficient basis for an adjudication of termination of parental rights for neglect.”). Inasmuch as respondent was unwilling to pursue treatment for her substance abuse problems, “there [was] a reasonable probability that such incapability [would] continue for the foreseeable future.” G.S. § 7B- 1111(a)(6).
    Moreover, there is sufficient evidence in the record tosupport the trial court's findings. First, Shea Neal, a counselor with DSS, testified: (1) that respondent admitted to using illegal substances while she was working with her; (2) that respondent indicated she would not continue substance abuse treatment; (3) that respondent was diagnosed with alcohol and cocaine dependence; (4) that respondent had tested positive for drugs while she was working with respondent. Additionally, a Court Study prepared 23 January 2002 and contained in the record indicated that: (1) respondent was scheduled for seven appointments with her substance abuse therapist, respondent failed to show for five of her appointments; (2) respondent tested positive for cocaine on 26 November 2001; and (3) respondent admitted to continuing to abuse alcohol, including being intoxicated three times over a recent weekend.
    Thus, there was clear, cogent and convincing evidence in the record to support the trial court's findings and conclusion that respondent's long term alcohol and substance abuse rendered her incapable of providing for the proper care and supervision of Shi'Esha. Because we have determined that a ground exists pursuant to G.S. § 7B-1111(6) to support the trial court's order, we need not address the remaining grounds found by the trial court in support of termination. Taylor, 97 N.C. App. at 64, 387 S.E.2d at 233-34.     Once the trial court has found that grounds exist to terminate parental rights, “the court shall issue an order terminating the parental rights of such parent with respect to the juvenile unless the court shall further determine that the bestinterests of the juvenile require that the parental rights of the parent not be terminated.” N.C.G.S. § 7B-1110(a) (2003). The trial court's decision to terminate parental rights at the disposition stage is discretionary. See In re Montgomery, 311 N.C. 101, 110, 316 S.E.2d 246, 252 (1984). In the instant case respondent has a history of long term drug and alcohol abuse, and she had consistently failed to attend drug counseling or follow the court ordered plan for reunification. She has been given a poor prognosis for overcoming her dependency. Moreover, Shi'Esha is of a young age and in need of good parental care. In her new foster placement, Shi'Esha is well cared for and is developmentally on target. In light of these circumstances, we cannot conclude that the trial court abused its discretion in determining that termination was in the child's best interests.
    Affirmed.
    Chief Judge EAGLES and Judge BRYANT concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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