In re A.R.A.., 373 N.C. 190 (2019)


In re A.R.A., ___ N.C. ___ (Dec. 6, 2019)

                Held: Affirmed

  • Facts: The family has an extensive history with DSS based on substance abuse and domestic violence by father against the children and respondent mother. The children initially came into care through a voluntary placement by mother so that she and father could live together. DSS filed a petition and the children were adjudicated neglected. Throughout the 2 year action, mother and father continued to reside together and denied the impact that the domestic violence and substance abuse history had on the children. After making limited progress, the court ordered a primary permanent plan of adoption, and DSS filed a TPR petition which was granted on the grounds of neglect and willful failure to make reasonable progress. Respondent mother appeals the TPR order, challenging the grounds and best interests determination.
  • The standard of review of a best interests determination at disposition is an abuse of discretion. Agreeing with the court of appeals, G.S. 7B-1110(a) requires the court to consider all the factors designated therein but is only required to make written findings of relevant facts. When there is conflicting evidence of a factor, placing it at issue before the district court, that factor is relevant. Here, the hearing transcript shows the court considered all the factors and made the necessary findings, which addressed the child’s age (9 years old), likelihood of adoption (via social worker testimony), that any bond between the child and parent was outweighed by the need for the child’s permanence, and “other” factors addressing the child’s attachment and success in the foster home as well as his therapy. The quality of the relationship between the child and prospective adoptive parent or other permanent placement was not relevant as there was not a potential adoptive placement at the time of the TPR hearing.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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