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In re B.E.Y.

November 21, 2008

IN THE INTEREST OF B.E.Y., B.A.Y., S.C.Y., MINOR CHILDREN UNDER THE AGE OF 18.


Appeal from Reno District Court. PATRICIA MACKE DICK, judge.

SYLLABUS BY THE COURT

1. The State must prove by clear and convincing evidence that a parent's rights should be terminated when the termination follows a child in need of care adjudication. When an appellate court reviews a trial court's determination to terminate a parent's rights under the clear and convincing evidence standard, it should consider whether, after review of all the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the State, it is convinced that a rational factfinder could have found it highly probable, i.e., by clear and convincing evidence, that the parent's rights should be terminated.

2. K.S.A. 2007 Supp. 38-2269 clearly directs that parental rights may be terminated when the court finds by clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit by reason of conduct or condition which renders the parent unable to care properly for a child and the conduct or condition is unlikely to change in the foreseeable future. The better practice dictates that the district court expressly reflect in its journal entry that this standard of proof was employed in making all findings.

3. K.S.A. 2007 Supp. 38-2269(g)(1) directs that if the court makes a finding of unfitness, the court shall consider whether termination of parental rights is in the best interests of the child. The better practice is for the district court to reflect in its journal entry that it has considered the best interests of the child or children in determining whether parental rights should be terminated.

The opinion of the court was delivered by: Greene, J.

Affirmed.

Before RULON, C.J., GREENE and HILL, JJ.

Natural father appeals the district court's termination of his parental rights. Concluding that a rational factfinder could have found it highly probable, i.e., by clear and convincing evidence, that father's rights should be terminated and that such termination was in the best interests of the children, we affirm.

In February 2007, the children were placed in State custody based on reports that father physically and sexually abused the children and mother failed to protect them. On August 7, 2007, the district court found that father sexually abused B.A.Y., physically abused B.E.Y., mother neglected the children, and both mother and father had emotionally abused the children. Therefore, the district court held that the children were children in need of care.

On November 13, 2007, the State filed a motion to terminate father's and mother's parental rights. After a trial, the district court found that their parental rights should be terminated because both parents were unfit by conduct or condition that rendered them unable to care for B.E.Y., B.A.Y., and S.C.Y.

Father timely appeals. Mother timely appealed but has voluntarily dismissed her appeal.

The State must prove by clear and convincing evidence that a parent's rights should be terminated when the termination follows a child in need of care adjudication. K.S.A. 2007 Supp. 38-2269(a). When an appellate court reviews a trial court's determination to terminate a parent's rights under the clear and convincing evidence standard, "it should consider whether, after review of all the evidence, viewed in the light most favorable to the State, it is convinced that a rational factfinder could have found it highly probable, i.e., by clear and convincing evidence," that the parent's rights should be terminated. In re B.D.-Y., 286 Kan. 686, 705, 187 P.3d 594 (2008).

Father generally contends there is insufficient evidence to support the district court's findings his parental rights should be terminated. He argues that he was making progress toward reintegration and the district court failed to adequately consider facts demonstrating compliance with a plan to reintegrate.

Here, the district court made thorough findings to support its conclusions that both parents were unfit and unlikely to ...


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