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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – TPR – Failure to Make Reasonable Progress

DSS modified the respondent-mother’s case plan several times to adjust to her changing circumstances as she transitioned out of her own foster care placement into independent living; nevertheless, respondent (1) stopped visiting her son, (2) failed to complete parenting classes, (3) stopped attending therapy, (4) refused to participate in a recommended psychological evaluation, (5) failed to obtain stable housing or employment, and (6) refused most requests for drug screenings and tested positive for marijuana in the one screening to which she did submit. The trial court’s unchallenged findings of fact support its conclusion that respondent failed to make reasonable progress under the circumstances to correct the conditions which led to her son’s removal.

We affirm the termination of respondent’s parental rights.


(Earls, J.) The majority fails to properly apply the statutory mandate to consider respondent’s reasonable progress “under the circumstances.” G.S. § 7B-1111(a)(2). After being sexually assaulted, respondent gave birth to “Quentin” when she was 14 years old. Respondent and Quentin were placed in foster care. During the time period at issue in this case, respondent participated in the NC LINKS program—which provides services to young adults exiting the foster care system to help them attain education, employment, health, and housing stability.

I would vacate the trial court’s order terminating respondent’s parental rights and remand for further factfinding which considers all of the relevant evidence, including her circumstances, financial resources, and participation in the NC LINKS program, in determining whether she willfully failed to make reasonable progress in correcting the conditions which led to Quentin’s removal.

In re Q.P.W. (Lawyers Weekly No. 010-007-21, 32 pp.) (Robin Hudson, J.) (Anita Earls, J., dissenting) Appealed from the District Court in Guilford County (Tonia Cutchin, J.) Mercedes Chut for petitioner; Christopher Edwards for guardian ad litem; Annick Lenoir-Peek for respondent. 2021-NCSC-12

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