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J.Y. v. Geneva County Department of Human Resources

Alabama Court of Civil Appeals

August 9, 2019

J.Y.
v.
Geneva County Department of Human Resources

          Appeal from Geneva Juvenile Court JU-17-157.02

          EDWARDS, JUDGE.

         In November 2018, the Geneva County Department of Human Resources ("DHR") filed a petition in the Geneva Juvenile Court seeking to terminate the parental rights of J.Y. ("the father") and A.A. ("the mother") to R.S. ("the child"). In its petition, DHR alleged that the father and the mother had failed to provide for the material needs of the child, had failed to maintain regular visits with the child, had failed to maintain consistent communication with the child, and had failed to adjust their circumstances to meet the needs of the child. The father was served with the petition and filed an answer; the mother was served by publication and was appointed an attorney. The juvenile court held a trial on DHR's petition on January 31, 2018, at which neither the father nor the mother appeared; both parents were represented by counsel. On February 22, 2018, the juvenile court entered a judgment terminating both the father's and the mother's parental rights to the child. Both the father and the mother timely appealed; the father's appeal was assigned appeal number 2180459, and the mother's appeal was assigned appeal number 2180460. Although we originally consolidated the appeals ex mero motu, we have elected to unconsolidate the appeals for separate disposition.

         The termination of parental rights is governed by Ala. Code 1975, § 12-15-319. That statute reads, in part:

"(a) If the juvenile court finds from clear and convincing evidence, competent, material, and relevant in nature, that the parent[] of a child [is] unable or unwilling to discharge [his or her] responsibilities to and for the child, or that the conduct or condition of the parent[] renders [him or her] unable to properly care for the child and that the conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future, it may terminate the parental rights of the parent[]. In determining whether or not the parent[] [is] unable or unwilling to discharge [his or her] responsibilities to and for the child and to terminate the parental rights, the juvenile court shall consider the following factors including, but not limited to, the following:
"(1) That the parent[] ha[s] abandoned the child, provided that in these cases, proof shall not be required of reasonable efforts to prevent removal or reunite the child with the parent[].
"....
"(4) Conviction of and imprisonment for a felony.
"....
"(7) That reasonable efforts by the Department of Human Resources or licensed public or private child care agencies leading toward the rehabilitation of the parent[] have failed.
"....
"(9) Failure by the parent[] to provide for the material needs of the child or to pay a reasonable portion of support of the child, where the parent is able to do so.
"(10) Failure by the parent[] to maintain regular visits with the child in accordance with a plan devised by the Department of Human Resources, or any public or licensed private ...

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