In re R.L.R., 381 N.C. 863 (2022)

  • Facts: In 2019, the juvenile was adjudicated neglected and dependent due to circumstances resulting from mother's substance use, improper supervision, and an injurious environment. After mother failed to make progress on her case plan and the child’s relative with whom she was placed expressed a desire to adopt, the primary permanent plan was identified as adoption. In 2020 DSS filed a TPR motion. While the TPR was pending, the relative changed her mind about adoption, and the child was moved to a foster home. The TPR was granted. Mother appeals, challenging the grounds and best interests determination.
  • In considering the child’s best interests the court looks to the factors at G.S. 7B-1110(a). The court considered the factors and the findings were supported by the evidence that there was no bond between the child and parent. The absence of an adoptive placement is not a barrier to TPR and the findings, based on evidence, show she has a high likelihood of adoption. The appellate court will not reweigh the evidence. Mother argues additional criteria that are codified in other states should be considered. This is an argument for the General Assembly. Further the catch-all, “any relevant consideration,” allows for other information to be considered, which in this case was the impact of adoption on this child. A trial court is not required to consider non-TPR related dispositional alternatives in the dispositional stage of the TPR because its focus is on the child’s best interests.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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