In re E.R., ___ N.C. App. ___, 795 S.E.2d 103 (2016)

Held: 
Reversed and remanded in part

Note, there are three children born to two different fathers who are the subject of this action; this opinion applies to two brothers who are the appellant father's children.

  • Prior to ordering guardianship with a non-relative, G.S. 7B-903(a1) requires that the court first consider the children’s proposed placement with a relative since the father proposed a placement with his mother, the children’s paternal grandmother. G.S. 7B-903(a1) requires that priority be given to an available relative placement at all dispositional hearings (initial, review, and permanency planning) unless the court finds the placement is contrary to the child’s best interests. A remand will result when the court does not make specific findings that address how the child’s placement with the relative is not in the child’s best interests.

  • The children are Indian children [25 U.C.S. 1903(4)], and the proceeding is a child custody proceeding governed by the Indian Child Welfare Act (ICWA). The court’s compliance with ICWA does not obviate the need to make findings under G.S. 7B-903(a1) when the court orders placement with a non-relative when a relative placement is available. 

Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Disposition (All Stages Post-Adjudication)
Topic:
Relative Placement
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