In re H.L., ___ N.C. App. ___, 807 S.E.2d 685 (2017)

Held: 
Affirmed in Part
  • Facts: DSS was involved with the family on multiple occasions because of domestic violence and substance abuse issues that impacted the child. The parents voluntarily entered into a safety plan where they agreed the child would stay with her adult half-sister as a safety resource placement and the parents would engage in clinical assessments, follow recommendations, and submit to random drug screens. Both parents tested positive for methamphetamines. DSS filed a petition. The trial court held a combined adjudication, initial disposition, and permanency planning hearing. The child was adjudicated neglected and dependent. DSS was relieved from providing reunification efforts, and guardianship was awarded to the child’s adult half-sister. Respondent father appeals the adjudication, award of guardianship at initial disposition, holding a concurrent review and permanency planning hearing, and visitation order.

 

  • Citing In re K.J.D., 203 N.C. App. 653, 660 (2010), when a child has been voluntarily removed from the home before a petition is filed, the court considers “the conditions and fitness of the parent to care [for the child] at the time of the adjudication.” Although portions of some of the court’s findings were not supported by competent evidence and were disregarded on appellate review, the findings that were supported by the evidence support the trial court’s conclusion that the juvenile was neglected. The supported findings showed respondent-father and mother had a tug of war with the child while they were having an altercation, they both failed multiple drug tests, the child was placed with a safety resource (her half-sister) because neither parent was able to provide proper care due to their drug use, and respondent father failed to address his substance abuse issues, such that the conditions requiring the child be placed with a safety resource were not remedied. 
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Adjudication
Topic:
Neglect
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