In re N.K., 375 N.C. 805 (2020)

  • Facts: Mother appeals a TPR, arguing in part the court erred by determining the TPR was in the child’s best interests.
  • Standard of review for the dispositional stage regarding best interests is whether the trial court abused its discretion. Dispositional findings must be supported by competent evidence.
  • The court made findings about each factor enumerated in G.S. 7B-1110(a). The court was not required to consider mother’s poverty and mental health issues even though those issues contributed to the neglect ground of the TPR. Mother has not explained how those issues related to the disposition.
  • The court does not commit error at the dispositional stage of a TPR when it does not consider non-TPR-related dispositional alternatives, such as guardianship or custody. The child’s best interests are of paramount consideration. When the juvenile cannot be returned home, the juvenile needs a safe permanent home within a reasonable amount of time. The court determined this juvenile needed a safe stable home and permanent plan of care at the earliest possible stage which could be obtained by a TPR.
  • The court did not abuse its discretion.

Remanded due to ICWA

Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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