Parental Rights in North Carolina

North Carolina Parental Rights News

Hundreds of Children Illegally Removed?

March 26, 2018

A 38-year-old father and his attorney have managed to uncover an illegal practice so widespread that its exposure could overturn dozens, or even hundreds, of child welfare proceedings in one North Carolina county. According to an investigation and March 15 report by the Associated Press, the Cherokee County Department of Social Services has been using…

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North Carolina State Law and Parental Rights


North Carolina Senate Bill 49 passed with a veto override on August 16, 2023.

2015-16: HB 847 was introduced April 14 by Rep. Jordan. It passed the House (115-2) in the first (2015) session, but it was never taken up by the Senate.

2013-14: A parental rights statute (H 711) was introduced in 2013 and passed the House (102-2). The Senate Judiciary Committee called for a study committee to report back on the bill in 2015.

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North Carolina Courts and Parental Rights

Affirmed as Fundamental, but Strict Scrutiny Not Specified

  • North Carolina courts have consistently affirmed that parental rights are fundamental. See Moua v. Alexander County, 2012 WL 252648 (W.D.N.C. 2012); In re T.R.P., 636 S.E.2d 787 (N.C. 2006); and Rodriguez v. Rodriguez, 710 S.E.2d 535 (N.C. Ct. App. 2011).
  • Though North Carolina courts have not yet specified the standard of scrutiny to be applied to parental rights, a 2003 N.C. Supreme Court case stated that, "absent a showing that the biological or adoptive parents are unfit, that they have otherwise neglected their children's welfare, or that some other compelling reason exists, the paramount rights of both parents to the companionship, custody, care, and control of their minor children must prevail." Rosero v. Blake, 581 S.E.2d 41 (N.C. 2003)(emphasis added).