In re M.Y.P., 378 N.C. 667 (2021)

  • Facts: In 2019, the juvenile was adjudicated neglected and dependent based on circumstances resulting from domestic violence, mental health issues, substance use, improper supervision,  and lack of stable housing. DSS filed a TPR motion, which was granted on the ground of neglect. Father appeals, challenging the grounds and best interest determination. This summary focuses on the grounds.
  • 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.
  • Challenged findings of fact that are not supported by the evidence are disregarded on appellate review. The challenged findings that are unsupported by the evidence are harmless error when the remaining findings support the conclusion of neglect.
  • The juvenile was previously neglected as shown by the prior juvenile neglect adjudication, based on father’s stipulations, that was not appealed. A neglected juvenile adjudication is about the child’s circumstances, not the fault or culpability of the parent.
  • “A parent’s failure to make progress in completing a case plan is indicative of a likelihood of future neglect.” 378 N.C. at 677. Father’s case plan addressed the reasons for the juvenile’s removal, including services for domestic violence and housing. Father did not make progress on those issues. Although visitation was ordered, father did not consistently visit with his child. The court did not rely solely on father’s case plan. Father tested positive for drugs and file to start substance use treatment. These findings support the conclusion.
Termination of Parental Rights
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