Aiken County Dept. of Social Services v. Wilcox

Decision Date11 February 1991
Docket NumberNo. 1627,1627
Citation304 S.C. 90,403 S.E.2d 142
PartiesAIKEN COUNTY DEPARTMENT OF SOCIAL SERVICES, Respondent, v. David WILCOX and Renee Wilcox, Appellants. In the Interest of Kasha EUBANKS, Freddie Eubanks, Lisa Eubanks. . Heard
CourtSouth Carolina Court of Appeals

C. Wesley Smith, Aiken, for appellants.

Assistant Solicitor Brenda K. Todd, Aiken, James D. Mosteller, III, Blackville, for respondent.

Barry H. Johnson, Aiken, Guardian ad Litem.

SHAW, Justice:

The Aiken County Department of Social Services instituted this action in family court alleging foster parents, David and Renee Wilcox, abused and neglected a child in their care. The trial judge found Mrs. Wilcox physically abused the child and Mr. Wilcox neglected her by failing to protect her from the abuse. He ordered that the minor child, and her two siblings who had also been placed with the Wilcoxes, remain in the custody of DSS and that they not be placed in the care and control of Mr. and Mrs. Wilcox. The Wilcoxes appeal. We affirm.

In April of 1988, the Wilcoxes became foster parents of three children, Freddie (age 5), Kasha (age 4) and Gina (age 2). Kasha had developmental problems and was diagnosed as suffering from fetal alcohol syndrome. She could not communicate well verbally and had some coordination problems. On July 26, 1988, after an incident in which Kasha was hurt, DSS removed all of the children from the Wilcox home and brought this intervention action. Without reciting all of the testimony from the voluminous record, we note the Wilcoxes take the position Kasha's injuries were caused by two separate incidents, one involving a fall down attic steps and the second involving an accident of unknown origin. It appears to be undisputed that the injuries suffered by Kasha, though not life threatening, were extensive.

Subsequent to the removal of the children from the Wilcox home, a worker at a home for abused and neglected children, Juanita New, made a list of injuries she observed on Kasha. They included the following:

A bruise on forehead; left eye bloodshot; bruise over left eye; right eye bloodshot and bruised, black in color; scratch over right eye; bruise inside left ear; bruise on left cheek, very touchy; chin had black circle bruise around the chin area; front top tooth missing; gum black and bruised all across the top; bruise on the right side of face; bruise down the side of nose, light in color; cut on the right thumb; bruise on the left top of the pelvic area, round in size; bruise on the right arm, total of 7; 6 bruises on the left arm; scrape marks on the right side of chest; 2 bruises on the right side of chest; 7 bruises on the right leg, some appeared to be old and some new; 9 bruises on the left leg; 20 bruises all different sizes and color on back and buttocks; left hip, a wide red mark 1 inch by 1 1/2 in size, appeared to be a belt mark; bruise on right top foot.

Ms. New testified they were the worst bruises she'd seen on a child in the seventeen years that she had worked with abused children.

Kasha was also examined by several doctors following removal from the appellants' home. Though some of the doctors felt the injuries suffered by Kasha were not inconsistent with a fall, two of the doctors were of the opinion some of Kasha's injuries were not caused by a fall. In particular, one doctor noted a thigh injury that looked as if Kasha had been struck with a paddle, a flat board or a wide belt and did not look typical of an accidental injury. She also noted a lesion on the right arm in an area and of a configuration seen when a child is grabbed or shaken.

The appellants contend that, even though the case before us is not a criminal matter, the charges of physical abuse and neglect brought in family court have such a potential impact on the rights of the parties involved, the burden of proof required should...

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27 cases
  • Shirley v. Shirley
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • July 31, 2000
    ...should accord great deference to trial court findings where matters of credibility are involved. See Aiken County Dep't of Soc. Servs. v. Wilcox, 304 S.C. 90, 403 S.E.2d 142 (Ct.App.1991). "This is especially true in cases involving the welfare and best interests of children." Id. at 93, 40......
  • Johnson v. Johnson
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • December 5, 2018
    ... ... From Richland County Monét S. Pincus, Family Court ... Judge ... children." (quoting Aiken Cty. Dep't of Soc ... Servs. v. Wilcox, ... ...
  • Divine v. Robbins
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • July 28, 2009
    ..."This is especially true in cases involving the welfare and best interests of children." Aiken County Dep't. of Soc. Servs. v. Wilcox, 304 S.C. 90, 93, 403 S.E.2d 142, 144 (Ct.App.1991). Mother alleges that Dr. Saylor's conclusions were "carefully constructed" to favor Father, but she has p......
  • Dodge v. Dodge
    • United States
    • South Carolina Court of Appeals
    • April 20, 1998
    ...should accord great deference to trial court findings where matters of credibility are involved. See Aiken County Dep't of Social Servs. v. Wilcox, 304 S.C. 90, 403 S.E.2d 142 (Ct.App.1991). This is especially true in cases involving the welfare and best interests of children. Id. I. STANDI......
  • Request a trial to view additional results

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