In re L.E.W., 375 N.C. 124 (2020)

  • Facts: Child was adjudicated neglected and dependent. DSS filed a petition to TPR and before that petition was heard, a permanency planning hearing was held that eliminated reunification as a permanent plan. Respondent mother preserved her right to appeal the permanency planning order (PPO), and after the TPR was granted, she appealed both the PPO and TPR.
  • TPR: Failure to Make Reasonable Progress
    • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2) authorizes a termination of parental rights when a parent has willfully left the child in foster care or placement outside of the home for more than 12 months without making reasonable progress under the circumstances to correct the conditions that led to the child’s removal. Although fully satisfying each condition of a case plan is not required, there must be more than extremely limited progress. A parent must have an ability to show reasonable progress but be unwilling to make the effort. The court made findings of fact about mother’s partial progress with trauma group sessions, missed group and individual sessions, inconsistent visitation with the child, inconsistent participation with CDSA, failure to maintain stable housing and employment, and continued involvement with father that involved incidents of domestic violence. Although there was some progress, it was not reasonable progress for which mother had an ability to make. The findings support the court’s conclusion that this ground exists.
Termination of Parental Rights
Willfully Leaving Child in Foster Care or Other Placement
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