In re K.S.D.-F., 375 N.C. 626 (2020)

  • Facts: DSS initiated a juvenile action in 2008 when it filed a petition alleging the juveniles were neglected. In 2009, the juveniles were adjudicated neglected and ultimately a permanent plan of guardianship was achieved in 2010. The court retained jurisdiction but waived further reviews. In 2016, DSS filed a motion for review due to the children being returned to their mother by the guardians. DSS obtained an order for nonsecure custody. Permanency planning hearings were conducted, and in 2018 DSS filed a motion to terminate parental rights. The TPR was granted, and respondents appeal, arguing DSS lacked standing to file the TPR and the court abused its discretion in determining TPR was in the child’s best interests.
  • Standard of review of best interests is not de novo as respondent argues. “We again reaffirm our application of the abuse of discretion standard when reviewing the trial court’s determination of ‘whether terminating the parent’s rights is in the juvenile’s best interest’ under N.C.G.S.§ 7B-1110(a).” 15 (quotations omitted). There was no abuse of discretion.
  • The finding that the children are likely to be adopted is supported by the evidence, including social worker and GAL testimony. This case is distinguishable from In re J.A.O., 166 N.C. App. 222 (2004) as the social worker and GAL both recommend TPR and state adoption is likely.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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