Parental Rights Terminated When Mother Refused to Acknowledge Parental Deficiencies and Thwarted Counseling Efforts to Remedy Deficiencies

Hansberry v. Charlottesville Dep't of Soc. Servs., No. 0117- 03-2, 2003 WL 21391022 (Va. Ct. App. June 17, 2003); 18(6) Virginia Lawyers Weekly 136 (July 14, 2003)

The Virginia Court of Appeals held that a mother's parental rights were appropriately terminated when evidence was presented the mother refused to acknowledge that any deficiencies in her parental abilities existed and she appeared to thwart attempts to provide her with mental health and counseling services designed to remediate her lack of parenting and supervisory skills. A clinical psychologist who evaluated the mother's emotional and cognitive functioning testified (1) that her cognitive functioning fell in the "borderline range," (2) that although persons functioning within this range can learn new skills, their inability to apply this learning to new situations was unlikely to change, (3) that the mother tended to be emotionally reactive, hostile, and oppositional, particularly when under stress and this accounted for her difficulty in making use of the assistance other people might provider her, and (4) that her tendency to deny problems and externalize blame, among other things, made it unlikely she would be able to adequately identify and respond to her children's needs....

Found in DMHL Volume 23 Issue 1