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Termination of parental rights supported by appropriate exercise of discretion

State v. D.W., 2021AP1290, District 1, 9/28/21 (one-judge decision; ineligible for publication); case activity

The circuit court properly exercised its discretion in terminating D.W.’s parental rights because the court considered all the relevant factors under § 48.426(3) in reaching its decision.

In deciding to terminate D.W.’s parental rights, the circuit court considered the bond that had developed between the child and his foster parent. D.W. doesn’t dispute the relevance of that fact, but argues the court didn’t consider facts showing the child’s bond with his biological family was weaker because the state failed to engage D.W.’s family as placement options and therefore impeded development of a bond between the child and the family. (¶12). Trouble is, says the court of appeals, the record shows the child protection agency did consider the appropriateness of the family for possible placement options, but found them wanting. The circuit court considered this information in making its decision and thus properly exercised its discretion. (¶¶13-19).

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