In re T.A.M., 378 N.C. 64 (2021)

There is a dissent
in part and concur in part, Erivn, J. joined by Hudson J. and Earls, J.
  • Facts: The juveniles were adjudicated neglected due to circumstances created by their parents, domestic violence, substance use, and mental health issues. The parents had done well with their case plan services for a while but then stopped doing so. The primary permanent plan was changed to adoption and DSS filed TPR petitions. The court granted the TPR petitions and parents appeal. Father challenges the granting of his attorney’s motion to withdraw. Mother challenges the court’s determination that the TPR was in the children’s best interests. This summary focuses on mother’s appeal.
  • Standard of review is an abuse of discretion.
  • The dispositional findings must be supported by competent evidence. The challenged findings of fact are supported by competent evidence, including social worker testimony, the admitted GAL report and visitation logs.
  • The “little bond” mother had with the children was supported by the evidence. Although mother argued that she did not have opportunities to act in a parental manner due to her being separated from her children, her limited opportunities arose form her own behavior – substance use relapse, late arrival to visits, and inability to control her emotions during visits.
  • The court is not required to consider other dispositional alternative (e.g., guardianship). The court considered the G.S. 7B-1110(a) dispositional factors and reasonably weighed those factors in concluding that TPR was in the children’s best interests.
Termination of Parental Rights
Best Interests Findings
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