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Dewberry v. Winchester Department of Social Services

Court of Appeals of Virginia

December 10, 2013

JAMES DEWBERRY
v.
WINCHESTER DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES TAMMY DEWBERRY
v.
WINCHESTER DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF WINCHESTER John E. Wetsel, Jr., Judge

(David L. Hensley; Gunter Hensley, P.C., on brief), for appellant James Dewberry.

(Timothy M. Mayfield; Harrison & Johnston, P.L.C., on brief), for appellant Tammy Dewberry.

(Russell A. Fowler; Nancie G. Kie, Guardian ad litem for the minor children; Winchester Law Group, P.C.; Pond Athey Law, P.C., on briefs), for appellee.

Present: Judges Kelsey, Beales and Senior Judge Clements

MEMORANDUM OPINION [*]

PER CURIAM

James Dewberry (father) and Tammy Dewberry (mother) appeal orders terminating their parental rights to six of their children. Both father and mother argue that the trial court erred in terminating their parental rights because the evidence was insufficient to support such a finding. Upon reviewing the record and briefs of the parties, we conclude that these appeals are without merit. Accordingly, we summarily affirm the decisions of the trial court. See Rule 5A:27.

BACKGROUND

We view the evidence in the light most favorable to the prevailing party below and grant to it all reasonable inferences fairly deducible therefrom. See Logan v. Fairfax Cnty. Dep't of Human Dev., 13 Va.App. 123, 128, 409 S.E.2d 460, 462 (1991).

Father and mother are the parents to the six children who are the subject of these appeals. In 2009, the Fauquier County Department of Social Services became involved with the family because they were homeless. The case subsequently was transferred to the Winchester Department of Social Services (the Department). On November 9, 2010, the Department removed the parents' oldest child from their custody because of a domestic violence incident involving that child. On February 24, 2011, the Department removed the other five children due to another incident of domestic violence involving one of the children. The Department also removed the children because of the home's volatility and father's anger issues. At the adjudicatory hearings, father and mother stipulated that the Department could prove its case by a preponderance of the evidence, but they did not admit the allegations.

During 2011, father and mother participated in psychological and parenting evaluations, counseling, parent mentoring, and family team meetings.

As of November 2011, the Department believed that some improvement was being made. On December 5, 2011, the Department allowed the three youngest children to reside with the parents. The next day, the parents contacted the Department and asked that the children be placed back in foster care because the stress level was too high.

From 2009 until 2012, the Department assisted father and mother with housing. Father and mother moved four times during this time period. In December 2011, they were evicted from their fourth house and lived in a hotel room with the mother of father's oldest child, Ruth Ann Little, and father's oldest child, who was an adult. In the spring of 2012, the Department secured a HUD unification voucher, which would have enabled father and mother to live in a four or five bedroom house at little or no cost. The restrictions on the voucher prevented Little from living with them, since she was not part of the nuclear family. Instead of using the voucher, father and mother moved with Little to Florida.

Shortly after arriving in Florida, mother gave birth to the parties' seventh child. Child protective services in Florida removed the baby from the parents' care ...


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