The Appellate Group

In re A.H.

In re A.H., 2022 UT App 114 (Harris, J.)

Child Welfare

After a bench trial, the juvenile court terminated Parents’ rights to two younger children, but it did not terminate Parents’ rights to five older children who were instead placed in a guardianship with relatives. Parents appealed the termination of their rights to the two younger children. The Utah Court of Appeals reversed, holding:

  • The juvenile court’s decision that termination was in the best interests of the two younger children was against the clear weight of the evidence. The court broke up the sibling group although there were no allegations against keeping the sibling group together. DCFS delayed in starting the ICPC process, and there is no evidence that the relative guardianship would not be an appropriate placement for the two younger children. 
  • The juvenile court incorrectly opted for termination of Parents’ rights and adoption because adoption was more permanent than guardianship with a relative. But termination decisions need to be based on specific circumstances of each case, not on the fact that generally adoptions are more permanent than guardianships. 

Read the full court opinion