Respondent-mother (respondent) appeals from the trial
court's 24 July 2006 orders terminating her parental rights to her
four children, D.B., Ki.B., Ka.B., and J.B. Respondent's appeal
from the order terminating her parental rights to D.B., Ki.B., and
Ka.B. was dismissed by order of this Court on 15 December 2006.
Thus, only the order terminating respondent's parental rights to
J.B. is before this Court for review. For the reasons set forth
below, we affirm.
Respondent contends several of the trial court's findings of
fact were not supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence
and the trial court erred by concluding that sufficient groundsexisted to terminate respondent's parental rights to J.B.
There are two stages to a termination of parental rights
proceeding: adjudication and disposition. In re Brim
, 139 N.C. App.
733, 741, 535 S.E.2d 367, 371 (2000). During the adjudication
stage, the petitioner has the burden of proof by clear, cogent, and
convincing evidence that one or more of the statutory grounds set
forth in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111 (2005) exists. N.C. Gen. Stat.
§ 7B-1109(e)-(f) (2005). A finding of any one of the grounds
enumerated ... [in N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111], if supported by
competent evidence, is sufficient to support a termination. In re
, 165 N.C. App. 311, 317, 598 S.E.2d 387, 391, disc. review
, 359 N.C. 68, 604 S.E.2d 314 (2004), reconsideration of
disc. review denied
, 359 N.C. 281, 609 S.E.2d 773 (2005). The
standard of appellate review is whether the trial court's
'findings of fact are based upon clear, cogent and convincing
evidence' and whether the 'findings support the conclusions of
law.' In re Huff
, 140 N.C. App. 288, 291, 536 S.E.2d 838, 840
(2000) (citation omitted), disc. review denied, appeal dismissed
353 N.C. 374, 547 S.E.2d 9 (2001). After a trial court determines
that grounds to terminate parental rights exist, the court shall
determine whether terminating the parent's rights is in the
juvenile's best interest. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1110(a) (2005).
Whether termination is in the best interests of the child is
discretionary, and a court may decline to terminate parental rights
only where there is reasonable hope that the family unit within areasonable period of time can reunite and provide for the emotional
and physical welfare of the child ... . In re Blackburn
, 142 N.C.
App. 607, 613, 543 S.E.2d 906, 910 (2001).
In the instant case, the trial court determined that
respondent's parental rights should be terminated pursuant to N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(1). The statute provides that the trial
court may terminate a parent's parental rights based upon neglect
if [t]he parent has ... neglected the juvenile. The juvenile shall
be deemed to be ... neglected if the court finds the juvenile to be
... a neglected juvenile within the meaning of G.S. 7B-101. N.C.
Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(1). N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-101(15) (2005)
defines a neglected juvenile as:
[a] juvenile who does not receive proper care,
supervision, or discipline from the juvenile's
parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker; or
who has been abandoned; or who is not provided
necessary medical care; or who is not provided
necessary remedial care; or who lives in an
environment injurious to the juvenile's
welfare; or who has been placed for care or
adoption in violation of law.
We hold that the trial court made findings of fact supported
by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence which support the
conclusion that respondent neglected J.B. Although respondent
assigned error to many of the trial court's findings of fact, only
four of the findings were argued in respondent's brief, and thus
the other assignments of error have been abandoned. N.C. R. App.
P. 28(b)(6). 'Where no exception is taken to a finding of fact by
the trial court, the finding is presumed to be supported bycompetent evidence and is binding on appeal.'
N.C. App. ___, ___, 631 S.E.2d 61, 64 (2006) (citation omitted).
The trial court made an unchallenged finding that both
respondent and J.B. tested positive for cocaine at J.B.'s birth.
Respondent admitted to smoking crack and marijuana prior to J.B.'s
birth. In addition, the siblings of J.B. have been in the custody
of the Cleveland County Department of Social Services and a primary
condition leading to their removal was respondent's history of
Although contested by respondent, the trial court found that
there is a strong probability that the neglect of J.B. would
continue for the foreseeable future evidenced by the complete lack
of contact or involvement by the mother since May 2006 and her
prior and continuing neglect and abandonment of her other children.
We determine there is clear, cogent, and convincing evidence
supporting this finding. For example, one uncontested finding
states that other than her three visits, respondent has not
maintained contact with the social worker or made other inquiry as
to the well-being of J.B. The trial court also found that
respondent has not provided any cards, gifts, letters, clothing,
diapers, food or other items for or on behalf of J.B.
we disagree with respondent.
The order appealed from is affirmed.
Judges HUNTER and TYSON concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
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