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Father Failed to Remedy Abuse & Neglect

A father failed to remedy the abuse and neglect that led to his children’s foster care placement, and the Court of Appeals affirms an order terminating the father’s parental rights.

Although father focuses much of his argument on his financial circumstances – he worked part-time at a fast-food restaurant – improving the family’s finances was not the only issue father faced in re-gaining custody of his children. Evidence was presented that father lacked appropriate parenting skills and, despite the efforts of social services in working with him in this area, father exhibited little change in his ability to be a caretaker for the children. When he was the primary caretaker, the home was in disarray, the children and their clothes were dirty, father depended on others to help him with the children, he left the children in daycare until after dinner time and he had difficulty meeting the emotional needs of the children. Farther appeared to be overwhelmed with caring for two children. He did not communicate well with the children and they did not respect or trust father.

The social worker testified father did not demonstrate that he had corrected any of his parenting deficiencies while the children were in foster care. Both children are more stable and are improving in their foster homes, which are both potential adoptive homes. The guardian ad litem for the children opined that returning them to father’s custody would cause them to regress.

The evidence showed the department contacted three relatives identified by father for potential relative placement and received no response from those relatives. Other relatives were excluded for various reasons. Father reported he was estranged from his sister, but she testified she had been in contact with father on about a monthly basis. The sister is 26 years old and has not raised any children. She was unsure whether she had any prior convictions. The children had never been to her home, and she had not discussed the children’s special needs with father. The children both had significant developmental issues related to their abuse and neglect. The trial court indicated her interest in obtaining custody was untimely. Moreover, the record supports the finding that the sister was not a viable relative placement.

Termination of father’s rights affirmed.

Hensley v. Harrisonburg Rockingham Social Services Dist. (Per Curiam) No. 2351-13-3, March 18, 2014; Rockingham County Cir.Ct. (Lane) Avery B. Cousins III for appellant; Rachel E. Figura, Ass’t County Att’y; Michael D. Beckler, GAL. VLW 014-7-087(UP), 10 pp.

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