In re V.B., 239 N.C. App. 340 (2015)


  • Facts: Three days after child’s birth and while the child is still in the hospital, a petition alleging dependency is filed and nonsecure custody is ordered.  The teen mother is in department custody herself and ultimately stipulated to factual allegations in petition. The teen father was named as a party, but the petition alleged his paternity was not established. Three weeks after the petition was filed, DNA testing confirmed his paternity. At the adjudication hearing, paternity is established, and the father contests the petition as no allegations regarding his inability to care for the child were included. After a hearing, the child is adjudicated dependent, and respondent father appeals.
  • For an adjudication of dependency, both prongs of G.S. 7B-101(9) must be proved by clear and convincing evidence:
    • The juvenile’s parent, guardian, or custodian is unable to provide for the juvenile’s care or supervision, and
    • The parent, guardian, or custodian lacks an appropriate alternative child care arrangement.
  • Although the statute is in the singular (“parent”), case law has held that a child is not dependent when at least one parent can provide or arrange for adequate care and supervision.
  • Although post-petition evidence is generally not admissible in an adjudicatory hearing for abuse, neglect, or dependency, paternity is an exception as it is relevant to whether a child has a parent who is capable of providing or arranging for appropriate care and supervision of a child.
  • There were no allegations, evidence, or findings that the father was unable to provide or arrange for the child’s care and supervision.


Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
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