In re H.L., 256 N.C. App. 450 (2017)

Affirmed in Part
  • Facts:  There was a combined adjudication, initial disposition, review, 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.


  • At disposition, the court has discretion to order a disposition utilizing the prescribed alternatives in G.S. 7B-903(a) based on the child’s best interests, and the order is reviewed for an abuse of discretion. A guardian may be appointed at disposition, including initial disposition. G.S. 7B-903(a)(5).
  • Guardianship may be granted without the court making a written finding of a G.S. 7B-901(c) factor regarding reunification efforts because the requirements of G.S. 7B-901(c) only apply when a child is placed in the custody of a county DSS (which is not the case when guardianship is ordered).
  • The court verified the guardian (1) understood the legal significance of the appointment based on the social worker’s and proposed guardian’s testimony of the duties and responsibilities of a guardian and (2) had adequate resources based on the affidavit by the proposed guardian of her finances and her, along with the DSS social worker’s testimony, that she was employed, made child care arrangements while she worked, and was able to financially care for the child.



Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Disposition (All Stages Post-Adjudication)
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