In re J.D.M.-J., ___ N.C. App. ___, 817 S.E.2d 755 (2018)

Held: 
Vacated and Remanded
  • Facts: Respondent mother appeals from a permanency planning order that awarded custody of her two children, who had been previously adjudicated neglected, to relatives (maternal aunt and uncle) who reside in Arizona before completion of an ICPC home study.
  • Regarding out-of-home care, G.S. 7B-903(a1) requires that a child’s placement with a relative comply with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children (ICPC). One requirement of the ICPC is that the receiving state (where the child is going to) notify in writing the sending agency that the proposed out-of-state placement does not appear to be contrary to the child’s best interests. The ICPC applies to a placement in foster care or as a preliminary to a possible adoption. G.S. 7B-3800. Looking at (1) the definition of “foster care” under AAICPC Regulation 3(4)(26), which includes the home of a relative, and (2) the holding in In re V.A., 221 N.C. App. 637 (2012) , which looked to In re L.L., 172 N.C. App. 689 (2005), that determined the ICPC applied to the out-of-state placement with a relative, placement with an out-of-state relative is a foster care placement requiring compliance with the ICPC. To the extent there is a later opinion, In re J.E., 182 N.C. App. 612 (2007), that held placement with the out-of-state relative is not a foster care placement or preliminary placement to adoption triggering the ICPC and conflicts with the In re V.A. (2012)/In re L.L. (2005) holdings, the court is bound by the older cases. Because there was no written notification from the receiving state, the trial court “was not authorized to award custody” to the out-of-state relatives. Sl. Op. at 11.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Disposition (All Stages Post-Adjudication)
Topic:
Relative Placement
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