In re E.F., 375 N.C. 88 (2020)

  • Facts: Respondent mother appeals the best interests determination of the TPR arguing the court abused its discretion.
  • Although G.S. 7B-1110(a) requires the court to consider each of the enumerated statutory factors at disposition, written findings are only required for those factors that have conflicting evidence. Competent evidence (testimony and reports) supported the findings, and of the challenged findings, there was no evidentiary conflict requiring written findings.
    • Regarding the factor that the TPR would aid in achieving the permanent plan, the TPR was a necessary precondition for the adoption.  
    • Regarding the factor addressing the child’s likelihood of adoption, it does not require a certainty of adoption.
    • A “trial court may – and should – consider evidence introduced at the adjudicatory stage of a termination hearing in determining the children’s best interests during the disposition stage.” Sl.Op. at 8. Although the availability of the maternal grandmother as a placement option was raised once at the adjudication stage, there was no reference to her or any other alternative placement at the disposition phase other than the undisputed evidence that the current placement provider (who was not the maternal grandmother) was appropriate and desired to adopt the children. As such, written findings about the maternal grandmother were not required.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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