Last week, Strategic Director Elizabeth Simpson argued in the North Carolina Court of Appeals in an appeal of a termination of parental rights case arising in Durham County. Emancipate NC is informed by the Office of the Parent Defender that this was the third oral argument in a Termination of Parental Rights case in the Court of Appeals in 15 years.

Four amicus briefs were filed in the case, representing the North Carolina Coalition Against Domestic Violence, the ACLU of North Carolina, the NAACP of North Carolina, and the North Carolina Justice Center with the North Carolina Community Bail Fund.

While the contents of the briefs are sealed due to the sensitive nature of juvenile proceedings, the argument was open to the public and streamed to YouTube. More than 30 community members turned out to the Raleigh appellate courthouse to support the cause. 

The abuse & neglect county district court is a confidential courtroom. Children’s rights and safety must always be protected. Nevertheless, the public policy implications of the decisions that are made in that court have serious ramifications for our community. In the coming weeks, Emancipate NC will release a new report on suggested county-level reforms to the Department of Social Services and the district court’s administration of abuse & neglect court proceedings. These reforms are informed by confidential interviews with key stakeholders, including parents, foster parents, guardians ad litem, attorneys, social workers, policy makers, former foster children, and others. 

The oral argument is streamed on the Court of Appeals’ YouTube channel here.