Most termination of parental rights cases focus on grounds for termination. If grounds are proven, it often seems as if the second prong of the legal analysis — whether termination is in the child’s best interest — is an afterthought. This case is noteworthy because although grounds were proven, it was not proven that termination was in the children’s best interests.
Facts: Mother and Father are the parents of three children. After both parents were incarcerated, the Tennessee Department of Children’s Services (DCS) obtained temporary custody. Over one year later, DCS petitioned to terminate their parental rights.
The trial court found that although DCS had proven grounds for terminating both parents’ rights, termination was not in the best interest of the children. The trial court dismissed the petition.
The children’s guardian ad litem appealed.
On Appeal: The Court of Appeals reversed in part and affirmed in part.
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