In re L.N.G., 377 N.C. 81 (2021)

  • Facts: In an underlying 2016 action, the juveniles were adjudicated neglected and dependent. The circumstances creating the children’s conditions were domestic violence. DSS filed a TPR petition in 2019, which was granted on the grounds of neglect and failure to make reasonable progress. The appeal addresses the ground of failure to make reasonable progress.
  • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2) authorizes a termination of a parent’s rights when the parent has willfully left the child is foster care or other placement outside the home for 12 or more months and has failed to show reasonable progress under the circumstances to correct the conditions that led to the child’s removal. A parent’s extremely limited progress to correct the conditions supports termination of parental rights under this ground.
  • Mother was ordered to address the issues of domestic violence. The findings that mother maintained her relationship with her abuser and did not engage in all the domestic violence therapy she was required to complete were supported by the evidence. Although she completed a domestic violence counseling program, she did not modify her behavior as she maintained her relationship with her abuser when he continued to commit acts of domestic violence against her. The court found her testimony that she was not in relationship with her abuser was not credible and was her attempt to mislead the court and DSS. The appellate court gives deference to the trial court’s determination of witness credibility. The court found she had the means and ability to comply with the additional counseling but was unwilling to do so.
Termination of Parental Rights
Willfully Leaving Child in Foster Care or Other Placement
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