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Cabanez v. Prince William County Department of Social Services

Court of Appeals of Virginia

April 5, 2016



Maureen A. Kersey; Sarah C. Collins; Katherine C. McCollam, on briefs, for appellant.

Cheryl A. Walton, Assistant County Attorney; Elaine Trautwein, Guardian ad litem for the minor children, on brief, for appellee.

Present: Judges Beales, Russell and Senior Judge Frank



Miguel Angel Cabanez (father) appeals the orders terminating his parental rights to his children. Father argues that the trial court erred by (1) finding that the evidence was sufficient to terminate his parental rights pursuant to Code § 16.1-283(C)(2); and (2) consolidating his case with the case for the children's mother. Upon reviewing the record and briefs of the parties, we conclude that this appeal is without merit. Accordingly, we summarily affirm the decision of the trial court. See Rule 5A:27.


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 Cty. Dep't of Human Dev., 13 Va.App. 123, 128, 409 S.E.2d 460, 463 (1991).

Father and Tiesha Milbourne (mother) are the biological parents of three children, who are the subject of this appeal.[1] The evidence proved that the Department had been involved with the family for many years. On August 5, 2009, the Department removed the children after receiving allegations of abuse and neglect. Father subsequently was convicted of assault and battery because he had physically abused the middle child, which resulted in a handprint across her face and bruises on her shoulder, legs, and torso. On December 8, 2011, mother received sole custody of the children.

On January 16, 2013, mother was arrested for driving under the influence and possession of marijuana and a concealed weapon. Father reported mother's arrest to the Department. The Department entered into respite agreements with mother. The children were engaging in sexually inappropriate behavior, so the Department separated the oldest child from the two youngest children.

On February 12, 2013, father informed the Department that he lived with his mother and could not take the children due to renovations being done at his mother's house. On March 14, 2013, father was convicted of and incarcerated on two charges of driving on a revoked license related to failure to pay child support for another child.

On March 14, 2013, the Prince William County Juvenile and Domestic Relations District Court (the J&DR court) transferred custody of the children to the Department. The J&DR court subsequently entered orders that incorporated the Department's foster care plans. The Department required father to participate in a psychological evaluation and follow the recommendations arising therefrom, participate in individual and family counseling, obtain housing, demonstrate the ability to financially provide for the children, and have reliable transportation.

When father was released from jail on July 4, 2013, he continued to live with his mother. Her house was renovated, and she planned to sell it. He did not have a full-time job. In August 2013, he obtained a vehicle and regained his license. He started working part-time. Beginning in September 2013, father attended a sixteen-week parenting class.

In October 2013, the J&DR court held review hearings and rejected the goals of return home and relative placement. Father subsequently met with the Department and told them about a townhouse in which he and his mother planned to live. In November 2013, the Department filed plans with goals of return home to father and termination of mother's parental rights.

In January 2014, the Department arranged for father to have extended supervised visitation and intensive attachment-focused family therapy. Despite the therapy, the counselor noted that in August 2014, father "was still really struggling with helping the children keep their boundaries and the children were having difficulty following his directions."

In April 2014, father joined the children's sexually reactive behavior therapy. He missed several sessions. Father did not believe that the oldest child was engaging in sexual behaviors, despite evidence to the contrary. He also denied being the person who exposed the children to inappropriate behavior, but the children reported seeing their ...

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