In re K.A.M.A., 379 N.C. 424 (2021)

  • Facts: The juvenile was adjudicated neglected and at one point was placed with maternal grandmother. Ultimately, the trial court determined maternal grandmother was not an appropriate placement because of conflict between grandmother and the parents, and there were no other relatives willing and appropriate to care for the juvenile. DSS filed a TPR, which the court granted. Father appeals, challenging the best interests determination. Maternal grandmother had written a letter to the court stating she wanted to be considered.
  • When determining best interests, the court considers the factors in G.S. 7B-1110(a). Relative placement is not explicitly addressed by G.S. 7B-1110(a) but may be considered as a relevant consideration when there is evidence introduced at the dispositional stage showing a relative placement is available. Without such evidence, the court is not required to consider a relative placement. There was no conflicting evidence about the availability of a relative placement, such that it was not a relevant factor and a finding about the placement was not required. Grandmother’s letter was not addressed at the hearing, and grandmother did not attend or testify at the hearing. The evidence showed the court had previously considered placement with grandmother and determined it was not appropriate.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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