In re A.J.L.H., ___ N.C. App. ___ (Dec. 15, 2020)

Stay granted
allowed 1/21/21
Vacated and Remanded
  • Facts: This action involves three children, where the appellant is the stepfather to the two older children and the biological father of the youngest child. The children share the same mother. After a DSS assessment of abuse based on the use of corporal punishment with a belt that caused bruising on the oldest child, who was 10 years old, DSS and the parents entered into a safety plan. Months later at a CFT meeting, DSS decided to file a petition alleging the oldest child was abused and neglected and the younger siblings were neglected. The safety plan had not been violated but the parents did not believe their disciplinary methods were cruel or unusual. After hearing, the children were adjudicated and the parents were denied visitation. The parents appeal challenging the adjudications and denial of visitation.
  • There is a distinction between a parent and stepparent. A stepparent is a caretaker and does not have standing to appeal the orders regarding his stepchildren. See G.S. 7B-101(8); 7B-1002(4). As the parent of the youngest child, he does have standing to appeal the order related to her.
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
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