In re K.N., ___ N.C. App. ___ (December 19, 2023)

  • Facts: Mother appeals the termination of her parental rights to two children based on the grounds of abuse, neglect, and willfully leaving the children in foster care for more than 12 months and her failure to make reasonable progress to correct the conditions which led to their removal. The Court affirmed the trial court’s adjudication of the ground for termination in G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2). Mother challenges the trial court’s dispositional determination that termination of her parental rights was in the best interest of both children.
  • A trial court’s dispositional findings of fact are reviewed to determine “whether they are supported by the evidence received during the termination hearing.” Sl. Op. at 16 (citation omitted). “The trial court’s assessment of a juvenile’s best interests at the dispositional stage is reviewed for [an] abuse of discretion.” Sl. Op. at 16 (citation omitted).
  • In determining whether termination is in the child’s best interests, G.S. 7B-1110(a) lists factors a trial court must consider and make findings regarding those relevant, including the child’s age, their likelihood of adoption, whether termination will aid in accomplishing the child’s permanent plan, the parent-child bond, the child’s bond with any proposed adoptive parent or other placement, and any other relevant considerations.
  • The trial court did not abuse its discretion in determining termination of Mother’s parental rights was in the best interests of both children. Findings included the age of the children and Mother’s inability to provide a safe and stable home; the children’s likelihood of adoption (one very likely and a possibility for the other following continued therapeutic treatment) and that termination would aid in accomplishing their primary plans of adoption; the children’s bond with their Mother (both maintaining a desire not to live with their Mother); and the children’s bond with proposed placements (finding one of the children has bonded with their foster parents who expressed a commitment to adoption).
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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