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Parental Rights

Jun 29, 2018

CAV: Incarceration was obstacle to caring for child

The circuit court did not err in holding that a father in prison on his third shoplifting offense could not meet his child’s need for stable housing, language development, and proper nutrition and clothing, even upon release. Background The Charlotte County Department of Social Services began offering services to Appellant Joel Davis’s family in 2015 […]

Jun 29, 2018

CAV: Improvements didn’t cure need for foster care

Although a mother had gotten a job, completed parenting classes, and attended counseling, her housing was not stable enough to provide care for her three young children, two of whom needed therapy. Background Appellant Misty Watkins and Johnathan Watkins are the biological parents to K. and M., born in 2012 and 2013. In August 2015, […]

May 13, 2018

SCV: Birth mom didn’t allege knowing interference

After apparently consenting to adoption by an employee of the delivering hospital, a mother could not prevail on claims that the hospital, its doctors, and the employee’s attorney had tortiously interfered with her parental rights. She never alleged that these defendants knew or had reason to know that the adoption was against her will. Background […]

May 9, 2018

CAV: Termination of mom’s rights reversed

Evidence didn’t support the circuit court’s ruling that a mother failed to remedy past conditions of child abuse. The record also didn’t support affirmance on the alternate ground of inadequate parenting skills advance by the Department of Social Services. Background Appellant Daniela Sternberg and her son, D. (born in 2009), moved to Spotsylvania County in […]

Apr 27, 2018

CAV: Psychological report admission was harmless error

Even if the circuit court erred in admitting a psychological evaluation that had not been considered by the Juvenile & Domestic Relations Court, the totality of evidence supporting termination of parental rights made any such error harmless. Background In 2003, the Juvenile and Domestic Relations Court awarded custody of Appellant Anita Simms’s 11-month-old child, T.T., […]

Apr 27, 2018

CAV: Father didn’t protect child from mother’s mental problems

The trial court didn’t err in terminating a father’s parental rights based in part on his responses to the child’s mother’s psychological problems, either abandoning the child with the mother during stressful moments or expecting the child to “get used to it.” Background Appellant Ivan Rucker and Jamillia Hansford are the biological parents of a […]

Apr 23, 2018

CAV: Termination upheld, despite mom’s addiction progress

Despite her negative drug tests and employment, the circuit court did not err in terminating a mother’s parental rights when she still had not obtained stable housing and had made little to no effort to see her children in several months. Background The Roanoke City Department of Social Services first became involved with Appellant Chyna […]

Apr 11, 2018

CAV: Father wrongly excluded from adoption proceedings

Denying an incarcerated father’s request for transportation to his child’s adoption hearing, without offering him an alternative means to participate, was an abuse of the trial court’s discretion. Background On June 20, 2016, Appellee Shawn B. Foster, joined by his wife, filed a petition to adopt M., his wife’s biological daughter. Amanda Thornton, Foster’s wife […[...]

Apr 9, 2018

CAV: Conviction upheld for leaving kindergartener home alone

A doctor’s conviction for felony child neglect was affirmed based on findings that he left his five-year-old child home alone, knowing that the child had a history of unruly behavior and wandering off when not properly supervised. Background On the afternoon of February 22, 2016, Gregory Gentry, the maintenance adviser at the Clairmont at Chesterfield […]

Apr 9, 2018

Va. Cir.: TPR in foster child’s best interest

A father who had little involvement in his child’s life either before or during his incarceration had not taken any steps necessary to maintain residual parental rights to his 12-year-old son. His decision to remain in solitary confinement while incarcerated was a key indicator of his lack of investment in a parental relationship. Background Octavius […]

Apr 2, 2018

CAV: Adoption affirmed, despite parents’ objection

A young child’s great aunt successfully petitioned to adopt the child, showing that the biological mother’s past violence, drug abuse, and mental health problems demonstrated that she withheld consent against the child’s best interests. Background Appellant Tina Tolley’s child was born in 2010. Both mother and child then lived with Appellee Terry Tolley, Tina’s aunt […]

Mar 19, 2018

CAV: Arrest video was admissible at TPR hearing

The trial court did not err in considering video of the father’s arrest during the termination hearing, or in declining to grant the father more time to remedy conditions requiring continued foster care for his baby daughter. Background B. was born substance-exposed on May 23, 2016. The Dickenson County Department of Social Services obtained custody […]

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