Court did not erroneously exercise discretion in disposition of TPR case

State v. Dwayne F., Jr., 2014AP595, District 1, 6/10/14 (1-judge; ineligible for publication); case activity

The trial court properly exercised its discretion in determining that the best interests of Dwayne F.’s daughter would be served by a guardianship with the Child Welfare Bureau for adoption by her foster family, instead of placement with Dwayne F.’s father.

Dwayne stipulated to termination of his parental rights to Nylah F. on continuing CHIPS grounds, § 48.415(2), and at the dispositional hearing Dwayne urged the court to place Nylah with his father. (¶¶2-5). After testimony from Nylah’s foster mother, the Bureau of Child Welfare case manager, and Dwayne and his father, the court instead ordered custody and guardianship of Nylah be given to the Bureau for the purpose of adoption by the foster family. (¶¶6-17). The trial court did not erroneously exercise its discretion in ordering this disposition:

¶23 … Dwayne’s arguments that the trial court’s decision was not in Nylah F.’s best interest and was merely a “rubber stamp” of the Bureau’s work are belied by the record. Dwayne does not argue that the trial court failed to give “adequate consideration of and weight to” the factors required by Wis. Stat. § 48.426(3). SeeState v. Margaret H., 2000 WI 42, ¶35, 234 Wis. 2d 606, 610 N.W.2d 475. Indeed, Dwayne concedes that the trial court “certainly gave a thorough and lengthy oral discussion … presenting [its] findings of fact and conclusion in a seemingly reasoned manner.” As noted in more detail above, the trial court thoroughly considered all of the statutory factors, explaining the many reasons why placing Nylah F. with the Bureau, which the court was “absolutely certain” would lead to adoption by the foster family—the only family Nylah F. has known and under whose case Nylah F. has thrived—was far better for Nylah F. than placement with her grandfather, who had met with her only a handful of times and whose underlying interest was repairing his broken relationship with his son.