In re S.J.B., 375 N.C. 362 (2020)

  • Facts: In 2018, the juvenile was adjudicated neglected based on circumstances involving mother’s drug use and mental health issues. In 2019, after mother overdosed, was admitted to inpatient treatment and discharged for failing to complete the program, the primary permanent plan was changed to adoption. DSS filed a TPR petition. The TPR was granted, and respondent mother appeals challenging the best interests determination.
  • Standard of review at disposition is whether the abused its discretion.
  • The court made findings of the G.S. 7B-1110(a) factors, which are unchallenged and, therefore, binding on appeal. Mother’s argument that the court should have considered her future plan to enter a residential treatment program where should would have the potential to have the child reside with her after several months has very limited relevance to the child’s best interests, particularly since the grounds to TPR were based in part on mother’s history of relapse and failure to complete drug treatment. The findings that the foster parents, who wanted to adopt the child, maintained relationships between the child and her half-brother and grandmother showed the court considered the competing goals of preserving family relationship and achieving permanency for the child. It is not the role of the appellate court to reweigh the evidence of the trial court. 
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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