In re J.S., ___ N.C. ___ (July 17, 2020)

Held: 
Affirmed
  • Facts: In 2016, the children were adjudicated neglected due to filthy and unsafe conditions in the home and mother’s failure to follow the safety plan. Two years later, DSS filed TPR petitions, which were granted. Respondent mother appealed, challenging the grounds (discussed in section above) and disposition.
  • G.S. 7B-1110(a) requires the court to consider each of the enumerated factors but only make written findings of fact “if there is ‘conflicting evidence concerning’ the factor, such that it is ‘placed in issue by virtue of the evidence presented before the [trial] court[.]’ ” Sl.Op. at 16 (citation omitted).
  • There was no conflicting evidence about the likelihood of each child’s adoption or the facilitation of the permanent plan if the TPR was granted. For one child, there was no conflicting evidence about the bond between the juvenile and prospective adoptive parents. No findings were required.
  • Without a prospective adoptive home for the other children, the factor addressing the bond between the child and prospective adoptive parent is not relevant. Regarding the likelihood of their adoption despite not having a pre-adoptive placement, the adoption social worker testified the children’s behaviors had improved and they needed an appropriate adoptive home that provided structure. The evidence supported the finding.
  • Regarding the quality of the relationship between mother and her children, the trial court is the authority to credit the testimony of one witness over another when the evidence conflicts. There was no abuse of discretion.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Disposition
Topic:
Best Interests Findings
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