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In re T.R.C.

Supreme Court of North Dakota

August 28, 2014

In the Interest of T.R.C., a Child State of North Dakota, Petitioner and Appellee
v.
T.R.C., a child, C.M.C., mother, and S.W.S., father, Maggie Anderson, Interim Executive Director, North Dakota Department of Human Services, Respondents S.W.S., father, Appellant

Appeal from the Juvenile Court of Traill County, East Central Judicial District, the Honorable Scott A. Griffeth, Referee.

Stuart A. Larson, State's Attorney, Hillsboro, N.D., for petitioner and appellee; submitted on brief.

Blake D. Hankey, Grand Forks, N.D., for appellant; submitted on brief.

Lisa Fair McEvers, Daniel J. Crothers, Dale V. Sandstrom, Carol Ronning Kapsner, Gerald W. Vande Walle, C.J. Opinion of the Court by McEvers, Justice.

OPINION

McEvers, Justice.

Page 409

[¶1] S.W.S. appeals from a juvenile court order terminating his parental rights to T.R.C., a child. We reverse and remand, concluding the court's findings do not adequately explain the basis for its decision.

I

[¶2] S.W.S. is the father and C.M.C. is the mother of T.R.C., who was born in

Page 410

2011. The child was taken into custody of Traill County Social Services on November 13, 2012, based on abandonment by C.M.C. S.W.S. was determined to be the father of T.R.C. about one month later. A reunification plan was developed for each parent for reunification with the child. On October 23, 2013, the State petitioned to terminate the parental rights of S.W.S. and C.M.C. C.M.C. appeared at an initial hearing and advised the court that she wished to voluntarily terminate her parental rights to the child.

[¶3] A termination hearing was held on April 28, 2014, and various witnesses testified, including the father, the father's wife, and the child's social worker. There was evidence presented about conditions in the father's home, the father's employment, and the father's chemical dependency. After the hearing, the juvenile court ordered termination of both parents' parental rights. The court found the child is deprived and the deprivation is likely to continue. The court also found it was contrary to T.R.C.'s welfare to continue to live with his parents, reasonable efforts were made to prevent the need for removing the child and to make reunification possible, and termination was in T.R.C.'s best interests.

II

[¶4] S.W.S. argues the juvenile court erred in terminating his parental rights. He claims the State did not show, by clear and convincing evidence, the deprivation is likely to continue, the court erred in finding clear and convincing evidence supports that the child will probably suffer serious harm absent termination, and the ...


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