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Boatright v. Wise County Dep't of Soc. Servs.

Court of Appeals of Virginia

November 12, 2014

KEITH BOATRIGHT
v.
WISE COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES

Page 725

FROM THE CIRCUIT COURT OF WISE COUNTY. Chadwick S. Dotson, Judge.

Charles Herbert Slemp, III (Slemp Law Office, PLLC, on briefs), for appellant.

Jeremy B. O'Quinn; Stephanie Kern, Guardian ad litem for the minor child (The O'Quinn Law Office, P.L.L.C., on brief), for appellee.

Present: Judges Petty, Huff and Senior Judge Annunziata.

OPINION

Page 726

[64 Va.App. 75] GLEN A. HUFF JUDGE.

Keith Boatright (" father" ) appeals a final order entered by the Circuit Court for Wise County (" circuit court" ) terminating father's parental rights on April 15, 2014. On appeal, father asserts four assignments of error:

1. The [circuit] court erred in denying the motion to reverse and remand the case to juvenile court for scheduling defects in violation of Code § 16.1-296(D).
2. The [circuit] court erred in granting a continuance on January 30, 2014 at the request of the Department and over [father]'s objection.
3. The [circuit] court erred in denying the motion to reconsider and terminating parental rights when the court failed to consider any evidence concerning the foster care plan, failed to make any rulings that the foster care plan should be approved, and failed to enter a separate permanency planning order.
[64 Va.App. 76] 4. The [circuit] court erred in denying the motion to reconsider and terminating parental rights because the court relied on the stipulations of the parties instead of hearing testimony of the facts of the case, failed to give [father] an opportunity to testify and present evidence and because the father's stipulation to the Department's proffer was revoked when he exercised his right to the revocation of the entrustment agreement.

Page 727

For the following reasons, this Court affirms the circuit court's rulings.

I. BACKGROUND

" When reviewing a [circuit] court's decision on appeal, we view the evidence in the light most favorable to the prevailing party, granting it the benefit of any reasonable inferences." Congdon v. Congdon, 40 Va.App. 255, 258, 578 S.E.2d 833, 835 (2003). " That principle requires us to 'discard the evidence' of [father] which conflicts, either directly or inferentially, with the evidence presented by the [Department] at trial." Id. (quoting Wactor v. Commonwealth, 38 Va.App. 375, 380, 564 S.E.2d 160, 162 (2002)). So viewed, the evidence is as follows.

Father is the biological father of C.B., who was born on May 16, 2004. Initially, C.B. was in the custody of his mother, Donna Boatright (" mother" ); however, due to mother's apparent drug abuse, C.B. was removed from mother and placed with father. During C.B.'s placement with father, father " was found to be intoxicated with [C.B.] . . . [and] continued alcohol abuse." C.B. was removed from father's custody and placed in foster care in April 2012.

On April 17, 2012, the Wise County Department of Social Services (" Department" ) filed a petition alleging abuse and neglect. An emergency removal order was entered by the juvenile and domestic relations district court (" JDR court" ) on April 17, 2012. On April 19, 2012, the JDR court entered a preliminary removal order. On May 15, 2012, the JDR court entered an adjudicatory order finding abuse and neglect of C.B., as defined in Code § 16.1-228, against father.

[64 Va.App. 77] On June 12, 2012, an initial foster care service plan was filed with the goal of " [r]eturn to [o]wn [h]ome." On June 26, 2012, a dispositional hearing was held before the JDR court and the initial foster care service plan was approved. On November 30, 2012, the Department submitted another foster care plan with the goal of " [r]eturn to [o]wn [h]ome," which the JDR court approved and entered on December 18, 2012. Additionally, the JDR court set a permanency planning hearing for June 19, 2013.

On June 14, 2013, the Department filed a petition for a permanency hearing with a new foster care plan and filed a petition for the termination of the parental rights of father and mother. The new foster care plan changed the goal from " [r]eturn to [o]wn home" to " [a]doption." At the request of the ...


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