In re A.W., 288 N.C. App. 123 (2023)

  • Facts: DSS filed a neglect petition based on domestic violence in the home. Despite having a DVPO, mother and father continued to have contact. DSS later filed a petition to terminate father’s parental rights based on neglect, dependency, and a prior TPR and failure to establish a safe home. Father’s rights were terminated, and he appeals.
  • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1) authorizes a TPR on the ground of neglect, which involves a parent not providing proper care, supervision, or discipline or creating an injurious environment to the child’s welfare. When there has been a period of separation, there must be past neglect and likelihood of future neglect. The court looks at the likelihood of future neglect based on circumstances between the past neglect and the time of the TPR hearing.
  • The findings supporting a high likelihood of future neglect are supported by the evidence, including testimony from a psychologist, DSS social worker, GAL, and the foster parent as well as father’s psychological evaluations, letter to the court, and emails between him and the foster parent. Despite engaging in services, the findings show father continues to show angry outbursts and emotional dysregulation, uses substances, and continues to have contact with mother despite a DVPO.
Termination of Parental Rights
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