In re D.D.M., 380 N.C. 716 (2022)

  • Facts: The juvenile, who is medically fragile, was adjudicated neglected in 2018, based on circumstances created by mother’s lack of proper care and untreated mental health issues that impacted her parenting. Undisputed findings are that mother did not obtain treatment for her mental health issues which negatively impacted her ability to parent. Mother appeals TPR arguing the court did not consider the impact of mother’s poverty on her ability to care for the child.
  • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2) prohibits the termination of parental rights on the sole reason that the parents cannot care for their child because of their poverty. Here, the court did not terminate mother’s rights because of poverty but rather because she failed to make reasonable efforts to complete her case plan. Mother refused DSS’s offers to assist with transportation to her son’s medical appointments and visits and to participate in virtual visits if in-person became infeasible. Mother quit one job and left another. “On balance, the trial court’s findings demonstrate that respondent-mother could have sought to comply with the requirements of her case plan even while experiencing otherwise insufficient monetary transactions.” 380 N.C. at 722.
Termination of Parental Rights
Willfully Leaving Child in Foster Care or Other Placement
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