An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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. COA04-685


Filed: 5 April 2005

IN THE MATTER OF:                    Wayne County
C.E.                                No. 03 J 235


    Appeal by respondent from an order entered 21 January 2004, by Judge Rose V. Williams in Wayne County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 17 January 2005.

     E.B. Borden Parker for petitioner-appellee.
    Michael J. Reece for respondent-appellant.

    GEER, Judge.

    C.E., the daughter of the respondent father, was adjudicated to be a neglected child on 2 October 2003. Respondent appeals from an order following a permanency planning hearing in which the trial court rejected respondent's request to allow him to relinquish his parental rights. We affirm.
     On 14 August 2003, the Wayne County Department of Social Services ("DSS") filed a juvenile petition alleging that respondent was physically and emotionally maltreating his daughter. Custody was placed with the child's mother. Respondent subsequently admitted that C.E. was a neglected juvenile, although he did not admit to any specific allegations. Accordingly, on 30 October 2003, C.E. was adjudicated a neglected juvenile and custody was continued with her mother.
    A permanency planning hearing was held on 8 January 2004. Inits order, the trial court took note of a Court Summary from DSS dated 30 December 2003 in which it was recommended that respondent be allowed to relinquish his parental rights if he wished to do so. At the hearing, however, DSS withdrew that recommendation. The trial court allowed respondent to speak directly to the court and he reiterated his desire to relinquish his rights, stating:
        Give them what they want, remove my parental rights. I don't think I should have to continue paying them, you know, [c]ause I have no say in her upbringing. . . . I have no say in anything, so why continue. It's only hurting me, it's only hurting her. Give them what they want, remove my parental rights and take their hands out of my pocket. Let us all go and get on with our lives.

    The court concluded that it was in the best interests of the child that custody be continued with her mother and ordered that respondent have no contact with either his daughter or her mother. The court did not terminate respondent's parental rights. Because the court concluded the permanent plan for C.E. had been achieved, the court closed the case and removed it from the active calendar of the Wayne County Juvenile Court.
    Respondent's appellate counsel has filed an Anders brief in which he states that "after extensive review of the relevant law, [he] is unable to identify an issue with sufficient merit to support a meaningful argument for relief on appeal." He asks this Court to conduct its own review of the record for possible prejudicial error.
    "'An attorney for a criminal defendant who believes that his client's appeal is without merit is permitted to file what hasbecome known as an Anders brief.'" In re Harrison, 136 N.C. App. 831, 832, 526 S.E.2d 502, 502 (2000) (quoting State v. Mayfield, 115 N.C. App. 725, 726, 446 S.E.2d 150, 152 (1994)). The procedures and protections afforded by Anders do not, however, extend to civil cases, including termination of parental rights cases. Id.
    Nevertheless, in the exercise of our discretion, see N.C.R. App. P. 2, we have reviewed the record. We hold that the trial court's findings are supported by clear and convincing evidence and those findings in turn support the conclusions of law. We, therefore, affirm the trial court's order.

    Judges WYNN and TYSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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