In re S.O.C., 283 N.C. App. 501 (2022)

Vacated and Remanded
  • Facts: In 2018, the juvenile was adjudicated neglected. Part of the adjudication involved the family’s long history of DSS involvement. Mother has an Intellectual Disability, and one of the previous orders (in a prior case) required that her care of her children be supervised. After 3 years, DSS filed a TPR petition, which was granted on all 3 grounds alleged: neglect, failure to make reasonable progress, and dependency. Mother appeals.
  • The TPR grounds for neglect (G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1)), failure to make reasonable progress (G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2)) and dependency (G.S. 7B-1111(a)(6)) all require the court to look at the circumstances for the parent at the time of the TPR hearing.
  • The findings do not evaluate the mother’s current circumstances at the time of the TPR hearing but focus on the years prior to the TPR hearing – the child’s neglect adjudication (2018), the 2018 evaluations of mother, and the prior history with DSS (2008-2017). Extensively quoting In re Z.G.J., 378 N.C. 500 (2021), the findings are insufficient to support the conclusion when those findings are based solely on evidence of circumstances that were months before the TPR hearing. There were no findings addressing a likelihood of repetition of neglect, mother’s progress to correct the conditions resulting in the juvenile’s removal, or mother’s ability to care for and supervise her child at the time of the TPR hearing.
Termination of Parental Rights
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