In re M.R., 381 N.C. 838 (2022)

  • Facts: In 2017, two juveniles were adjudicated neglected based on circumstances involving unstable housing and mother’s substance use. In 2018, mother gave birth to a baby who tested positive for substances and that baby was ultimately adjudicated neglected. DSS filed motions to TPR both parents’ rights, which were granted. Mother appeals, challenging the ground of neglect and the best interests determination. Father appeals the best interests determination.
  • The challenged findings are supported by competent evidence: social worker testimony.
  • The trial court has discretion to determine the weight to give competing G.S. 7B-1110(a) factors. There was no abuse of discretion. The parent-child bond is one of many factors considered by the court.  A child’s wishes are not controlling on the trial court since the best interests of the child is the “polar star.”
  • The need for child adoptee who is 12 or older to consent to the adoption does not preclude a TPR. Consent to adoption is governed by G.S. Chapter 48 and not the Juvenile Code. G.S. Chapter 48 allows the minor’s consent to be waived when the court finds it is not the child’s best interests to consent.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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