In re S.D., 243 N.C. App. 65 (2015)

Reversed and Remanded

  • Pivotal findings of fact are not supported by the evidence, and the findings of fact do not support the conclusion of law that the respondent mother failed to make reasonable progress to correct the conditions that led to the child’s removal.
  • Respondent mother was ordered to:
    • consistently visit with her child, and the court found the mother consistently and punctually attended the visits;
    • obtain and maintain suitable housing, and the court stated (there were not findings in the order) the housing was suitable (mother had been living in a friend’s home for 9 months);
    • submit to a substance abuse evaluation and follow recommendations, and the court found she completed an evaluation, which had no treatment recommendations, and she had one drug screen that was negative;
    • complete a parenting class and demonstrate knowledge of what she learned, and the court found she attended a program; and
    • maintain regular contact with the DSS social worker, and the court found that she did.
  • Respondent mother was also ordered to resolve all pending criminal charges. The court found the mother’s charges were unresolved and there was no indication as to when a resolution would occur. However, the evidence showed that respondent’s criminal charges may have been resolved in a week’s time. Although it is not reasonable to wait years for the criminal process to conclude, the potential for an imminent resolution should have been considered.
  • Respondent mother was ordered to obtain and maintain legal employment sufficient to meet both her and her child’s needs.  The court found the mother obtained a part time job, earning $435/month, and that she applied for SSI. Although the social worker indicated $435/month was insufficient to meet the needs of a household of two, parental rights may not be terminated on the sole basis of poverty. G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2).
  • Mother was ordered to complete a psychological evaluation and follow recommendations. The finding of fact that the evaluation recommended “intensive individual counseling” was not supported by evidence that showed the mother complete “individual counseling services.” The court found the mother attended therapy as recommended by her therapist.
  • “While ‘extremely limited progress is not reasonable,’…certainly perfection is not required to reach the ‘reasonable’ standard.”


Termination of Parental Rights
Willfully Leaving Child in Foster Care or Other Placement
Click on a term below for additional case summaries tagged with the same term.