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Hoyle v. Chesapeake Department of Human Services

Court of Appeals of Virginia

December 10, 2013

JOANN HOYLE
v.
CHESAPEAKE DEPARTMENT OF HUMAN SERVICES

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF THE CITY OF CHESAPEAKE Randall D. Smith, Judge

John A. Coggeshall, on brief, for appellant. Appellant submitting on brief.

Ryan C. Samuel, Assistant City Attorney; James E. Short, Guardian ad litem for the minor children, on brief), for appellee. Appellee and Guardian ad litem submitting on brief.

Present: Judges Humphreys, McCullough and Senior Judge Bumgardner

MEMORANDUM OPINION [*]

PER CURIAM

Joann Hoyle (mother) appeals the order terminating her parental rights to her children. Mother argues that the trial court erred in terminating her parental rights to her children pursuant to Code § 16.1-283(C)(2) because mother "successfully rehabilitated her life after the 12-month period from the date the children were placed in foster care" and it was in the children's best interests to be returned to her care. Upon reviewing the record and briefs of the parties, we conclude that the trial court did not err. Accordingly, we affirm the decision of the trial court.

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).

In August 2009, mother lived with her two children, who were two and three years old at the time, and their father, Brooks Smith. On August 16, 2009, the police were called to the house to investigate a domestic dispute. The police contacted the child protective services unit of the Chesapeake Department of Human Services (the Department) because the children had multiple bruises on their faces and bodies. The older child had a bruise in the form of a handprint on her face and said that her mother hit her across the face with her hand. The younger child had a black eye. Mother was arrested for felony child abuse.[1]

The Department referred mother to an anger management program and a parent education program. It also developed a safety plan with the parents, so that mother was not allowed to have unsupervised contact with the children. In a follow-up visit, the Department learned that the safety plan was not being followed. As a result, the Department filed abuse and neglect petitions and sought protective orders, which required mother to leave the home.

On August 31, 2009, the Department and the police went to the house to serve the protective orders on mother. Mother was home alone with the children. She became belligerent and ripped up the protective orders. Based on the actions of mother and other family members, the Department removed the children and placed them in foster care. The Chesapeake Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (the JDR court) found that both children were abused or neglected.

The Department placed the children with father on September 27, 2009. From January 6, 2010 until February 12, 2010, mother and father, without permission of the Department, moved the children to an undisclosed location. The Department subsequently placed the children back in foster care.

In March 2010, mother was arrested on numerous charges concerning a shooting incident. She pled guilty to a felony charge of malicious shooting at an occupied dwelling and was sentenced to three years in prison, with all but six months suspended. In addition, she was convicted of two misdemeanor charges of brandishing a firearm and received a six-month suspended sentence on each charge. She also was convicted of willfully discharging a firearm in public and received a six-month suspended sentence.

In May 2010, the Department placed the children with their paternal uncle, Brandon Vann. They have been ...


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