The Appellate Group

In re B.T.B

In re B.T.B, 2020 UT 36 (Pearce, J.)

Child Welfare

The juvenile courts terminated Father’s parental rights, and in so doing addressed whether termination was “strictly necessary”—a phrase that had been added to the termination statute, Utah Code § 78A-6-507. Father appealed, and the Utah Court of Appeals clarified the analysis the juvenile court should have used in its “strictly necessary” analysis. The Utah Supreme Court affirmed the court of appeals, holding:

  • Under the plain language of the statute, if a court finds statutory grounds for termination, the court must determine if termination is strictly necessary for the welfare and best interests of the child. The best interests analysis should be undertaken from the child’s point of view without weighing a parent’s constitutional rights. If a child can be equally protected and benefitted by an option other than termination, termination is not strictly necessary.