In re D.C., ___ N.C. App. ___ (Dec. 15, 2020)

Held: 
Vacated and Remanded
  • Facts: The juvenile was adjudicated neglected, and at initial disposition the court found DSS had made reasonable efforts for reunification and directed those efforts continue. An initial permanency planning hearing was scheduled to establish the initial permanent plan. A review hearing was held where the court entered two orders under G.S. 7B-911: a custody of the juvenile to her placement provided and an order terminating its jurisdiction in the juvenile matter. Mother appeals both orders, arguing the findings required under G.S. 7B-906.2 to cease reunification efforts and eliminate reunification as a permanent plan were not made.
  • Standard of review for a dispositional order is whether the findings are based on credible evidence, whether the findings support the conclusions, and whether the court abused its discretion. The failure to make statutorily required finding is reversible error.
  • Before ceasing reunification efforts and eliminating reunification as a permanent plan, the court must make findings in G.S. 7B-906.2(b) and (d). The order did not include reunification as a permanent plan and ceased reunification efforts when it released DSS of responsibilities. Under G.S. 7B-906.2(b), the court was required to find that reunification efforts would be clearly unsuccessful or inconsistent with juvenile’s health or safety. The findings in both orders (the custody and 7B orders) when read together were insufficient because the G.S. 7B-906.2(b) finding and one of the four required findings under G.S. 7B-906.2(d) were not made.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Cease Reunification
Topic:
Findings of Fact
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