In re H.B., 285 N.C. App. 1 (2022)

There is a dissent
by Woods, J.
  • Facts: In 2019, the juveniles were adjudicated neglected and dependent due to circumstances created by mother’s substance use, mental health, housing, and lack of appropriate supervision. The juveniles were placed in DSS custody. In 2020, mother’s parental rights to one of the juveniles was terminated. In 2021, DSS filed a TPR petition to terminate mother’s parental rights of H.B. The TPR was granted and mother appeals both the grounds and disposition.
  • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(2) authorizes a TPR when a parent willfully leaves their child in foster care for more than 12 months without making reasonable progress under the circumstances to correct the conditions that led to the juvenile’s removal.
  • “A trial court may take judicial notice of findings of fact made in prior orders.” 285 N.C. App. at 15. But, the court may not rely solely on those prior orders. The court must take some oral testimony at the hearing and make an independent determination of the evidence that is presented at hearing. The court took judicial notice of the underlying neglect and dependency file and accepted a DSS Timeline into evidence at the TPR hearing. The witness testimony corroborated the evidence and prior orders regarding the history with mother and mother’s failure to follow through and comply with her case plan. The order’s finding, although minimal and unartfully drafted, are sufficient.
  • Dissent: The findings are insufficient. The oral findings, which were more substantial, are not included in the written order. The order should be vacated and remanded for additional findings to support the conclusion of law.
Termination of Parental Rights
Click on a term below for additional case summaries tagged with the same term.