An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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

NO. COA04-1709

NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS

Filed: 4 October 2005

IN THE MATTER OF:                        Mecklenburg County
M.B. and E.W.,                            Nos. 03 J 952, 953
    Minor Children.
                

    Appeal by respondent-parents from order entered 28 June 2004 by Judge Louis A. Trosch, Jr., in Mecklenburg County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 24 August 2005.

    Mecklenburg County Attorney's Office, by J. Edward Yeager, Jr., for Mecklenburg County Youth and Family Services petitioner appellee.

    Duncan B. McCormick for L.W. respondent-mother appellant.

    Leslie C. Rawls for N.B. respondent-father appellant.

    Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice, PLLC, by Donald R. Esposito, Jr., for Guardian ad Litem appellee.

    McCULLOUGH, Judge.

    Respondent-parents L.W. and N.B. appeal from a district court order terminating their parental rights. We affirm.

Facts
    Respondent L.W. is the biological mother of both M.B. and E.W. Respondent N.B. is the biological father of only M.B.   (See footnote 1)  Both children were placed in the custody of Mecklenburg County Youth andFamily Services (YFS) on 26 September 2002, and both were adjudicated neglected juveniles on 30 December 2002.
    Sometime before 22 January 2003, L.W. entered into a case plan with YFS in which she agreed to maintain steady employment and stable housing, complete a parenting class for children from zero to four years of age and a parenting class for children from five to twelve years of age, and become involved with the F.I.R.S.T. program for substance abuse issues. Further, YFS requested that she seek individual therapy. Since YFS became involved with L.W., she has not been continuously employed, and between January 2003 and May 2004, she moved at least three times. Further, YFS was unable to locate her between August 2003 and January 2004. L.W. did complete the class on parenting zero- to four-year-old children, but failed to complete the class on parenting five- to twelve-year-old children. When confronted about the fact that she had not completed the second class, L.W. indicated that she was unaware of this requirement; however, YFS records indicated that she had been apprised of this requirement on two occasions. She did not complete the substance abuse program to which she was referred and did not subsequently enroll in any other substance abuse program. Further, L.W. spent time in jail for failure to participate in a court-related substance abuse program. Likewise, she did not pursue individual therapy.
    YFS also entered into a case plan with N.B. The provisions of this plan required substance abuse treatment in a day program, completion of a class on how to parent children between ages zeroand four, obtaining stable housing, and obtaining stable and consistent employment. N.B. completed the substance abuse day treatment program; however, he was subsequently arrested and convicted of driving while intoxicated. Likewise, he completed the required parenting class and maintained fairly stable employment. At some point in 2003, N.B. moved in with his sister, who did not want M.B. to live in her home. According to N.B., he had applied for housing approximately ten times between the placement of M.B. in the custody of YFS and the hearing of the petition to terminate his parental rights, which spanned approximately two years; however, he was unsuccessful due to his prior criminal record. Further, although N.B. did visit with his child on some occasions, he missed between four and ten visits and was late for three others. As of May 2004, N.B. had paid $2,754 in child support, and he was approximately $1,400 in arrears.
    The YFS caseworker assigned to work with M.B. and E.W. indicated that
    [the children were] in a loving [foster] home they've been with for a year. The foster parents have a good relationship. They interact as a family unit. And [as of the termination hearing the children had] not seen their parents . . . in over 10 months.

She added that the children were “doing very well” in foster care.     The trial court ruled that the parental rights of Leslie W. and N.B. should be terminated because, inter alia, E.W. and M.B. were left in foster care or placement outside of the home for more than twelve months and there was no showing that reasonable progress had been made towards correcting the conditions which ledto their removal. Further, the trial court determined that the best interests of the children would be served by the termination of respondents' parental rights. Both L.W. and N.B. now appeal.
I.
    On appeal, L.W. contends that the trial court erred by finding and concluding that she willfully left M.B. and E.W. in foster care without making reasonable progress towards correcting those conditions which led to the removal of the children. Similarly, although N.B. characterizes his primary argument on appeal as a challenge to certain findings made by the trial court, the gravamen of his argument is that the trial court erred by finding and concluding that he willfully left M.B. in foster care without making reasonable progress towards correcting the conditions which led to the removal of the child. We conclude that the challenged determination with respect to each respondent must be affirmed.
    This Court reviews an order terminating parental rights for whether the findings of fact are supported by clear, cogent, and
convincing evidence, and whether those findings of fact support a conclusion that parental rights should be terminated for one of the grounds set forth in the General Statutes. In re Oghenekevebe, 123 N.C. App. 434, 439, 473 S.E.2d 393, 398 (1996). Where a trial court concludes that parental rights should be terminated pursuant to several of the statutory grounds, the order of termination will be affirmed if the court's conclusion with respect to any one of the statutory grounds is supported by valid findings of fact. In re Swisher, 74 N.C. App. 239, 240-41, 328 S.E.2d 33, 34-35 (1985).    Pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(2) (2003), a parent's rights to a child may be terminated if
        [t]he parent has willfully left the juvenile in foster care or placement outside the home for more than 12 months without showing to the satisfaction of the court that reasonable progress under the circumstances has been made in correcting those conditions which led to the removal of the juvenile.

“A finding of willfulness does not require a showing of fault by the parent.” Oghenekevebe, 123 N.C. App. at 439, 473 S.E.2d at 398. “Willfulness is established when the respondent had the ability to show reasonable progress, but was unwilling to make the effort.” In re McMillon, 143 N.C. App. 402, 410, 546 S.E.2d 169, 175, disc. review denied, 354 N.C. 218, 554 S.E.2d 341-42 (2001). “A finding of willfulness is not precluded even if the respondent has made some efforts to regain custody of the children.” In re Nolen, 117 N.C. App. 693, 699, 453 S.E.2d 220, 224 (1995). The failure to abide by the terms of a case plan is evidence that a parent has failed to make reasonable progress towards correcting those conditions which led to the removal of the juvenile. In re O.C., No. COA04-923, slip op. at 13-15, __ N.C. App. __, __, 615 S.E.2d 391, __ (filed 19 July 2005).
    In the instant case, the trial court made findings of fact that L.W. had failed to comply with her case plan in that, inter alia, she (1) did not complete the class on parenting children from age five to twelve; (2) did not complete the substance abuse treatment program to which she was referred; (3) spent time in jail for her failure to participate in court-affiliated substance abusetreatment; and (4) had not procured and maintained stable housing. Likewise, the trial court made findings of fact that N.B. had failed to comply with his case plan in that, inter alia, he (1) never appropriately addressed his substance abuse problem, as evidenced by a driving while impaired arrest and conviction following completion of his substance abuse treatment; (2) only completed approximately ten applications for housing in a two-year period, which the court did not consider a “diligent search”; and (3) was inconsistent in his visitation with the children in that he was absent or tardy for several visits. All of these findings are amply supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence presented at the termination hearing through the testimony of YFS social worker Laura Moreau. Further, these findings support the trial court's conclusion that “respondent parents have each willfully left the juveniles in foster care or placement outside the home for more than twelve (12) months without showing to the satisfaction of the Court that reasonable [progress] has been made in correcting those conditions which led to the removal of the juveniles.”
    Our holding with respect to this ground for termination makes it unnecessary for us to consider respondent parents' arguments concerning the other grounds upon which their parental rights were terminated. See Swisher, 74 N.C. App. at 240-41, 328 S.E.2d at 34-35. The corresponding assignments of error are overruled.
II.
    Both L.W. and N.B. also contend that the trial court abused its discretion by determining that the best interests of M.B. andE.W. would be served by the termination of their parental rights. We disagree.
    If the trial court determines that grounds to terminate parental rights exist, “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 best interests of the juvenile require that the parental rights of the parent not be terminated.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1110(a) (2003) (emphasis added). “The trial court's decision to terminate parental rights, if based upon a finding of one or more of the statutory grounds supported by evidence in the record, is reviewed on an abuse of discretion standard.” McMillon, 143 N.C. App. at 408, 546 S.E.2d at 174.
    As already indicated, the trial court properly found that neither L.W. nor N.B. had complied with their case plan and that neither of them had made sufficient progress towards correcting the problems which led to the removal of E.W. and M.B. from Leslie W. and the removal of M.B. from N.B. Furthermore, the evidence at the termination hearing showed that the children were doing well in their foster placement. Given these facts and circumstances, we are unpersuaded that the trial court abused its discretion by determining that the best interests of M.B. and E.W. would be served by a termination of respondents' parental rights. The corresponding assignments of error are overruled.
    Affirmed.
    Judges McGEE and JACKSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).


Footnote: 1
     An Ernest W. is the biological father of E.W. His parental rights to E.W. were also terminated, but he is not involved in the instant appeal.

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