In re K.B., 2021-NCSC-108

Held: 
Affirmed
  • Facts: In 2019, the juveniles were adjudicated neglected (for the 3rd time). In 2020, DSS filed a TPR motion, which was granted. Mother appeals, challenging the grounds. Father appeals the best interests determination. This summary focuses on mother’s appeal.
  • 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 a juvenile who lives in an injurious environment. When there is a long period of separation, neglect requires prior neglect and a likelihood of repetition of neglect, based on the circumstances at the time of the TPR hearing. Neglect requires some physical, mental, or emotional impairment or substantial risk of such impairment to the children.
  • Failure to make progress on a case plan is indicative of a likelihood of future neglect. The unchallenged findings show mother did not make adequate progress on her case plan at the time of the TPR hearing.
  • The challenged findings are supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence and support the conclusion of neglect. The court’s determination of a likelihood of future neglect was based on evidence at the adjudicatory hearing (DSS social worker testimony) and resulting findings about mother’s failure to engage in/complete substance use and mental health treatment, and the substantial risk of harm to the children because of mother’s failure to understand the safety concerns of the children when in her unsupervised care while she uses substances, the parentified behaviors of the older child to her younger sibling, the children’s mental health diagnoses and need for treatment, and mother’s withholding of consent for one child’s psychotropic medications.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Neglect
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