Rylan’s Law closer to passing

Rylan Ott, the toddler who drowned (Photo: Aberdeen Times)

RALEIGH, N.C. (WNCN) — Rylan’s Law continues to move closer to going on the books in North Carolina.

The bill would require two successful supervised visits before recommending children go back to their parents. It cleared the Senate Judiciary Committee Wednesday.

In April of last year, 23-month-old Rylan Ott wandered away from his home near Vass and drowned in a pond. It was four months after a judge returned him to his mother’s custody. The case worker never observed the visits between Ott and his mother, and the boy’s guardian says Child Protective Services ignored several red flags.


His volunteer guardian ad litem, Pam Reed, has been at the General Assembly advocating for Rylan’s Law and was at Wednesday’s Senate Judicicary Committee hearing.

“A child when they go to get their driver’s license at the DMV, not only do they have to pass a written test, they have to get behind the wheel of a car and physically show that they can operate the vehicle,” said Reed. “So why in heaven’s name would we not require a county worker to have to observe an abusive parent with a minor child (prior) to reunification?”

One change that has happened is that Rylan’s Law now has been grouped with an additional bill that would make changes to the child welfare system in North Carolina. Procedurally, that means Rylan’s Law must not only pass the Senate, it must also receive a concurrence vote in the House. The House had previously approved Rylan’s Law.

Ott’s mother, Samantha Bryant, pleaded guilty to charges related to his death and is serving a 19- to 32-month prison sentence.

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