In re C.M., 273 N.C. App. 427 (2020), aff'd per curiam, 377 N.C. 105 (2021)

There is a dissent.
  • Facts: At a permanency planning hearing involving five children, the court eliminated reunification when it ordered concurrent permanent plans of adoption and guardianship. In its order, the court addressed visitation between the children and their mother by continuing the previous order that did not permit visitation between mother and her 2 oldest children and reducing mother’s visitation with her 3 youngest children to one last visit only. Mother appealed.
  • Standard of review of an order eliminating reunification is whether the court made the appropriate findings, based on credible evidence, whether the findings support the conclusion and whether the court abused its discretion.
    • Evidence: “There is a difference between arguing that there is no evidence to support a finding by the trial court, and arguing that there is evidence which contradicts that finding. In a nonjury proceeding such as this, the findings of fact ‘are conclusive on appeal when supported by any competent evidence, even if the evidence could sustain contrary findings.’ ” Sl.Op. at 5 (emphasis in opinion). The evidence of the SW’s testimony support the challenged findings.
    • The language of the findings do not need to match the statutory language but must address the statutory substance. Taken together, the findings about mother’s limited progress address the substance of G.S. 7B-906.2 finding that reunification efforts would clearly be unsuccessful or inconsistent with the juvenile’s health and safety.
  • Standard of review of a visitation order is an abuse of discretion. There was no abuse of discretion when the court terminated visitation based on findings that mother did not make adequate progress and had difficulty managing the visits.
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Cease Reunification
Findings of Fact
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