State of Utah, in the interest of K.G. and S.M., persons under eighteen years of age.
State of Utah, Appellee. K.M., Appellant,
District Juvenile Court, Ogden Department The Honorable
Sharon S. Sipes No. 1119574
Jennifer A. Clark, Attorney for Appellant
D. Reyes, Carol L.C. Verdoia, and John M. Peterson, Attorneys
Pierce, Guardian ad Litem
Judges J. Frederic Voros Jr., Stephen L. Roth, and David N.
K.M. (Mother) appeals the juvenile court's order
terminating her parental rights. We affirm.
"[I]n order to overturn the juvenile court's
decision [to terminate a person's parental rights, ] the
result must be against the clear weight of the evidence or
leave the appellate court with a firm and definite conviction
that a mistake has been made." In re B.R., 2007
UT 82, ¶ 12, 171 P.3d 435 (citation and internal
quotation marks omitted). We "review the juvenile
court's factual findings based upon the clearly erroneous
standard." In re E.R., 2001 UT App 66, ¶
11, 21 P.3d 680. A finding of fact is clearly erroneous only
when, in light of the evidence supporting the finding, it is
against the clear weight of the evidence. See id.
Further, we give the juvenile court a "wide latitude of
discretion as to the judgments arrived at based upon not only
the court's opportunity to judge credibility firsthand,
but also based on the juvenile court judges' special
training, experience and interest in this field."
Id. (citations and internal quotation marks
omitted). Finally, "[w]hen a foundation for the
court's decision exists in the evidence, an appellate
court may not engage in a reweighing of the evidence."
In re B.R., 2007 UT 82, ¶ 12.
Mother argues that there was insufficient evidence to
demonstrate grounds supporting termination of her parental
rights. The juvenile court based its termination decision on
several grounds, including unfitness. See Utah Code
Ann. § 78A-6-507(1)(c) (LexisNexis 2012). The evidence
in the record supports the juvenile court's findings and
its determination that Mother was unfit to care for her
children, primarily due to her habitual use of a controlled
substance. Despite the fact that the
children were initially removed from Mother's custody due
to Mother's issues with drugs, Mother did very little to
remedy these issues during the course of the proceedings.
Mother admitted using methamphetamine throughout the entire
course of the child welfare proceeding. She also admitted
that nearly every person around her uses drugs. Further,
Mother failed to comply with the service plan's
requirement to submit herself for random drug testing. Mother
either missed or did not produce a sample for 60 of 64
scheduled tests. Of the four tests for which she did provide
a sample, Mother tested positive for drugs twice. The
juvenile court went on to find that Mother lacked insight
into the problems caused by her drug use. She believed that
her drug use did not interfere with her ability to parent the
children despite admitting that she was unable to care for
the children "when she is coming down" from the
drugs or when she uses too much. Due to this lack of insight
Mother did not participate in any meaningful drug treatment.
Mother's drug use made it impossible for her to properly
care for her children. Thus, the evidence supports the
juvenile court's determination that Mother was unfit.
Mother next argues that it was not in the best interests of
the children to terminate her parental rights. The juvenile
court's findings demonstrate that Mother was not in a
position to provide for the children's needs or to
provide the stability they needed. In addition to
Mother's ongoing issues with drug use, Mother never
obtained stable employment or housing. Further, she was
incarcerated at times during the course of the child welfare
proceeding. Conversely, the children were in a kinship
placement in which the foster parents met the children's
physical and emotional needs and provided the children with
the stability they needed. The children have integrated into
the foster family, and the foster parents wish to adopt them.
Accordingly, evidence in the record supports the juvenile
court's determination that it was in the best interests
of the children to terminate Mother's parental rights.
Pursuant to Utah Code section
78A-6-507, the finding of any single ground for termination
is sufficient to warrant termination of parental rights.
See Utah Code Ann. § 78A-6-507(1) (LexisNexis
2012); In re F.C. III, 2003 UT App 397, ¶ 6, 81
P.3d 790 (noting that any single ground is sufficient to
terminate parental rights). As a result, if there is
sufficient evidence to support any of the grounds for