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In re R. E.

Court of Appeals of Georgia

July 13, 2015

In the Interest of R. E. et al., children

Cert. applied for.

Termination of parental rights. Chatham Juvenile Court. Before Judge Stone.

Melissa E. Lawrence, for appellant.

Samuel S. Olens, Attorney General, Shalen S. Nelson, Senior Assistant Attorney General, Leo Beckmann, Jr., Assistant Attorney General, for appellee.

OPINION

Page 543

McFadden, Judge.

The mother of the children whose interests are at issue appeals the termination of her parental rights. She argues that the evidence does not support the termination. We agree and reverse.

[333 Ga.App. 54] 1. Facts.

On appeal from a juvenile court's order terminating parental rights, we view the evidence

in the light most favorable to the juvenile court's ruling, and our review is limited to addressing the question of whether any rational trier of fact could have found by clear and convincing evidence that the parent's rights should have been terminated. In this review, we must necessarily defer to the juvenile court's fact finding, weighing of the evidence, and credibility determinations.

In the Interest of C. M., 325 Ga.App. 869, 869-870 (1) (756 S.E.2d 5) (2014) (citation and punctuation omitted).

So viewed, the evidence shows that the four children involved in this case have the same mother and two different fathers. The two older children are R. E. and M. C.; their father is R. E., Sr. The two younger children are L. P. and J. P.; their father is R. S.; the mother lives with R. S. Not involved in this case are two more children of the mother with a third man, to whom the mother was married at the time of the termination hearing; those children live with their father.

In April 2010, the mother, who apparently had ongoing interactions with the Department of Family and Children Services (DFCS), began taking M. C. to weekly counseling appointments. An entity called Gateway -- the nature of which is not explained in the record -- had referred M. C. to a therapist for counseling because she was wetting and soiling herself. R. E. began seeing the same therapist in June for help with his attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. The mother continued to bring her children to the counseling appointments until funding for the program ended. The therapist worked with the mother on her parenting skills, and the mother complied with the therapist's recommendations.

In July 2010, a DFCS employee accompanied the mother and these two children to a counseling appointment; the DFCS employee reported to the therapist that five-year-old M. C. and her six-year-old brother R. E. had been found naked together in a bedroom. With the therapist present, the DFCS employee questioned M. C. about sexual activity. ...


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