In re Z.V.A., 373 N.C. 207 (2019)

  • Facts: There is an underlying neglect action with a permanency planning order (PPO) of adoption and reunification. The PPO ordered DSS to proceed with a termination of parental rights for the parents. A week after the TPR was filed by DSS, the child was placed with the maternal aunt in New Jersey. After a TPR hearing, the court concluded neglect existed as to each parent and the TPR was in the child’s best interests. Both parents appealed the TPR order.
  • Neglect: When a child and parent have been separated for a long period of time, neglect under G.S. 7B-1111(a)(1) requires a showing of past neglect and the likelihood of future neglect. To determine the likelihood of future neglect, the court must consider evidence of changed circumstances between the period of past neglect and the time of the TPR hearing. Clear, cogent, and convincing evidence supports the district court’s findings that father was willing to leave the child alone with mother despite her not being fit to care for the child, that respondents displayed constant marital discord during supervised visits with the child, and respondents intended to remain together. These findings support the conclusion of neglect based on prior neglect and the likelihood of future neglect.
Termination of Parental Rights
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