In re C.B., 245 N.C. App. 197 (2016)

There is a dissent
based on a parent’s constitutional right to choose a different course of medical treatment for her child than what is recommended by the medical provider and preferred by DSS.
  • The court’s ultimate finding that the child was neglected was supported by the multiple court findings of fact that demonstrated the 10-year old child had significant mental health issues resulting in multiple psychiatric hospitalizations in a short period of time; the mother minimized and denied the seriousness of the child’s condition; the mother continuously failed to obtain meaningful mental health treatment for her daughter and exacerbated her daughter’s condition; and the child was at substantial risk of a physical, mental, or emotional impairment as a result.
  • Although a parent has a paramount constitutional right to care, custody, and control over her child, that right is not absolute and does not include neglecting her child’s welfare. In this case, the parent was unjustified in her unwillingness or inability to obtain meaningful medical care for her child who was experience a serious illness. The failure to obtain medical treatment constitutes neglect.
  • The sibling of the child with a severe mental illness is also a neglected juvenile based on the following findings of fact: the respondent mother allowed her daughter to be continually exposed to her sibling’s erratic and violent behavior, and the child was directly and negatively affected by each of the incidents she was exposed to; respondent mother was not concerned about the effect the exposure was having on her daughter; and respondent mother failed take efforts to mitigate the sibling’s behavior by obtaining meaningful medical services for the sibling. The court noted the definition of neglect includes the relevance of whether the juvenile lives in a home where another juvenile has been subjected to neglect.
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
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