In re L.G.G., 2021-NCSC-139

Held: 
Affirmed
  • Facts: The children were adjudicated neglected. The circumstances involved domestic violence, substance use, lack of appropriate care and supervision including a failure to provide necessary medical and dental care, and unsafe and unclean housing conditions. The parents were ordered to comply with a case plan and eventually started making progress. However, their compliance with the case plan was inconsistent. Once in care, the children started showing sexualized behaviors and made disclosures, which the parents did not believe. The children’s behaviors started regressing after visits. Reunification efforts and reunification were eliminated, and adoption was identified as the primary plan. DSS filed a TPR motion. The TPR was granted, and respondents’ appeal the adjudication; father also appeals the best interests determination regarding the oldest child.
  • 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, has not provided necessary medical care, 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.
  • In reviewing the challenged findings that support the adjudication of neglect, they were supported by clear and convincing evidence. The social worker testified that the parents waited more than a year to engage in the case plans, never fully acknowledged responsibility and denied behaviors, and continued some of the concerns that led to the children’s removal. The therapist testified to the parents’ denial and failure to accept responsibility. These findings support the likelihood of future neglect, especially given the children’s significant behavioral issues.
  • Although mother complied with her case plan, a parent’s compliance with a case plan does not preclude a finding of neglect. The court found the parents did who insight into why their children came into care even though they participated in services; this finding is unchallenged and the evidence supports the finding. The findings support the conclusion of neglect and a likelihood of repetition of neglect.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Neglect
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