In re M.A., ___ N.C. ___ (July 17, 2020)

Held: 
Affirmed
  • Facts: The children were adjudicated neglected based on lack of proper care and supervision and an injurious environment due to domestic violence and substance use in the home. After adoption was ordered as the primary permanent plan, DSS filed a TPR petition. The TPR was granted and father appeals the neglect ground challenging the likelihood of future neglect. Mother also appeals, arguing the court abused its discretion when determining the TPR was in the children’s best interests (discussed in section below).
  • The evidence, including testimony, prior orders, and a GAL report support the findings.
    • An indication of the likelihood of future neglect is a parent’s failure to make progress in completing the case plan. Father acknowledged in the underlying neglect order that domestic violence was a reason for the child’s removal. The court findings include ongoing domestic violence based on the frequency of 911 calls made to the home and father’s unsuccessful discharge from domestic violence classes and failure to demonstrate concepts from those classes. Father’s limited attendance at the classes is not reasonable progress in addressing the domestic violence as required by his case plan. These findings support the adjudication of neglect given the likelihood of future neglect. Because the domestic violence was sufficient to support the neglect ground, the supreme court did not address the findings related to father’s substance abuse or housing conditions.
Category:
Termination of Parental Rights
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Neglect
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