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Click here for the full text of this decision FACTS:Investigations following three separate referrals over three years led the Department of Protective and Regulatory Services to file a petition to terminate the parental rights of M.M. and J.C. to two children. DPRS also moved to terminate the parental rights of M.M. and an unknown father, called “Beau Unknown,” to a third child. Case workers repeatedly found the children bruised, living in squalid conditions, being exposed to drugs and inadequately supervised. There was also evidence that J.C., the father, spanked the children with a wooden spoon, belt or his hand, and that his propensity for violence had resulted in a criminal conviction. J.C. had, on at least one occasion, hit M.M. in the mouth hard enough to split her lip. The DPRS petition alleged that the parents had knowingly placed or knowingly allowing the children to remain in conditions or surroundings that endangered the physical or emotional well-being of the children. The petition also alleged that the parents engaged in conduct or knowingly placed the children with persons who engaged in conduct that endangers the physical or emotional well-being of the children. All parental rights were terminated, including Beau Unknown’s. On appeal, M.M., the mother, claims that the department did not adhere to the proper standards of notification or due diligence in trying to locate Beau Unknown. HOLDING:Affirmed. The court dismisses M.M.’s argument about the due diligence used to find Beau Unknown because M.M. does not have standing to contest the termination of Beau Unknown’s parental rights. The court upholds the factual and legal sufficiency to support the termination on both grounds listed in the petition, citing M.M.’s drug use and J.C.’s violent tendencies and neglect. Furthermore, the evidence was factually and legally sufficient to support a finding that termination was in the children’s best interest. First, M.M. did not submit to a drug rehabilitation program until the day of trial, despite a longstanding directive that reunification couldn’t occur without rehab. Second, the children’s development improved in foster care, while they would regress after visits with J.C. Plus, M.M. was unable to provide a stable home or remain gainfully employed. OPINION:Livingston, J.; Cayce, C.J., Livingston and Walker, JJ.

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