Wright v. Alexandria Div. of Social Services

In Wright v. Alexandria Div. of Social Services, 16 Va. App. 821, 433 S.E.2d 500 (1993), the Court held that a child has standing to raise the issue of whether her mother's constitutional rights were violated in a termination of parental rights case. The Court wrote: A party has standing in a case if he or she "alleges such a personal stake in the outcome of the controversy as to assure that concrete adverseness which sharpens the presentation of issues upon which the court so largely depends for illumination of difficult constitutional questions." Duke Power Co. v. Carolina Env. Study Group, 438 U.S. 59, 72, 98 S. Ct. 2620, 2630, 57 L. Ed. 2d 595 (1978) (quoted in Cupp v. Board of Supervisors, 227 Va. 580, 589, 318 S.E.2d 407, 411 (1984)). In cases involving parental rights, the rights of the child coexist and are intertwined with those of the parent. The legal disposition of the parent's rights with respect to the child necessarily affects and alters the rights of the child with respect to his or her parent. Boronica Wright has a "personal stake in the outcome" of the proceeding to terminate her mother's parental rights and, therefore, has standing to challenge the propriety of the trial judge's decision to terminate those rights. Id. at 825, 433 S.E.2d at 502-03.