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

At Risk!

North Carolina does not have a state statute that explicitly defines and protects parental rights as fundamental rights.

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

Col. Rev. Stat. § 13-22-107(1)(a)(III) expressly declares parental rights "fundamental," which may lead to strict scrutiny protection the next time the issue comes up in the courts.

  • In re Reese, 227 P.3d 900, 902-3 (Colo. Ct. App. 2010) the Colorado Court of Appeals adopted  a "rebuttable presumption" in favor of parental visitation determinations, which can be rebutted by "clear and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit or that the parent's visitation determination is not in the best interests of the child," id. at 903; the rebuttable presumption is employed because Troxel did not "state how the presumption affects the proof process or how courts must accord special weight to it," id. at 902.