In re J.B., 379 N.C. 233 (2021)

  • Facts: Mother filed TPR petition against father. Father was incarcerated in Georgia after entering an Alford plea. The facts involved father molesting a child who was visiting his home, where he lived with mother and their child. The conditions of his criminal judgment included his not having contact with his child until the child turned 18. The TPR was granted, and father appeals challenging the grounds and best interests determination.
  • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1) authorizes a TPR on the ground of neglect, which includes a parent who does not provide proper care, supervision, or discipline or when the juvenile lives in an injurious environment. When the child has been separated from the parent for a period of time, there must be a showing of past neglect and a likelihood of future neglect, based on evidence of changed conditions between the time of the past neglect and TPR hearing
  • Although father cannot have contact with his child until the child is 18, there is a likelihood of repetition of neglect as he cannot provide proper care, supervision, or discipline and is highly relevant. A lengthy incarceration sentence or probation cannot be the sole basis for determining a likelihood of future neglect but other factors, including father’s inability to contact his child for the rest of the child’s minority and his never inquiring about the child’s health or well-being during the 4 years from his arrest to the TPR hearing supports the court’s determination of neglect. Father was not prohibited from seeking information about the child through family or other means.
Termination of Parental Rights
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