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The court held that the trial court properly terminated the respondents-parents' parental rights to the child where at least one statutory ground for termination existed and it was in the child's best interests.

The trial court terminated their rights based on their abuse of the child's sibling and/or failure to protect her from the other parent's abuse. On appeal, the court rejected respondent-mother's argument that termination was inappropriate because she was not provided with reunification services, noting because the goal was termination and not reunification, such services were not required. It also rejected her claim that the trial court should have implemented a guardianship instead of terminating her parental rights because it would have given her time to comply with a treatment plan, finding there were "no circumstances under which another child would be placed in" her care. The court next rejected her contention that the DHHS violated her due process rights by taking action that "virtually assured the creation of a ground for termination," noting it was clear that she "created the situation that led to DHHS's involvement." It further found that there were statutory grounds to support termination as the evidence established "a reasonable likelihood that [the child] would suffer injury or abuse in the foreseeable future if placed in" her care. Lastly, it held that termination was in the child's best interests, noting the "multiple serious injuries suffered by" the child's sister while in her care, and "the infant's ultimate death." As to respondent-father, the court found that although he had not established legal paternity of the child's sibling, his parental rights to the child could still be terminated under the statute. In addition, it found that the injuries to the sibling were "brutal" and she was "ultimately smothered to death." Despite this, he continued his relationship with the mother and tried to protect himself from any responsibility. The record showed a reasonable likelihood that the child would suffer injury or abuse in the foreseeable future if placed in his care. Lastly, the court found that termination of his rights was in the child's best interests, noting again the severe abuse of the child's sibling, the death of the sibling, and the failure to accept any responsibility. Affirmed.

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