In re J.A.J., 381 N.C. 761 (2022)

  • Facts: In 2019, the juveniles were adjudicated neglected and dependent in part due to circumstances involving mother’s substance use and mental health issues and father’s incarceration. DSS filed TPR petitions in 2020. The TPR was granted, and each parent appeals. The parents argue that the court abused its discretion in determining the TPR was in the juvenile’s best interests. They argue that due to his mental health need, he was not a candidate for adoption as he had 17 placements in 28 months and was in a psychiatric hospital at the time of the TPR hearing.
  • The evidence at the hearing, including social worker testimony, was that the juvenile was doing well at the hospital and had had 2 previous placement that lasted for several months. The evidence also showed that once the juvenile was cleared for adoption, he would be eligible for more resources (e.g., registered on NC KIDS) to find an adoptive placement.
  • This case is distinguishable from In re J.A.O., 166 N.C. App. 222 (2004) as this child was 9, was making progress on his therapeutic goals, had long-lasting placements showing he could maintain a long-term placement, and does not have a relationship with father.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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