In re A.H.F.S., 375 N.C. 503 (2020)

  • Facts: The juveniles had been adjudicated neglected in two separate actions (one in 2016 where the juveniles remained in the home and one in 2017 where the juveniles were removed) due to substance use, mental health issues, and conditions of the home. DSS initiated a TPR, which was granted. Respondent parents appeal, challenging the grounds and best interests determination. One argument is that the DSS should have waited for the results of an ICPC home study before proceeding with the TPR.
  • Although “consideration of placement alternatives and preserving family integrity is an appropriate consideration in the dispositional portion of the termination hearing, the best interests of the juvenile remain paramount.” Sl.Op. at 19. The court appropriately considered the dispositional factors and did not abuse its discretion in determining the TPR was in the juveniles’ best interests.
  • The bond between a parent and the juvenile is just one factor the court must consider under G.S. 7B-1110(a). The trial court may give greater weight to other factors. The court giving greater weight to other factors in this case is not an abuse of discretion.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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