In re J.M., ___ N.C. App. ___ (May 5, 2020)

Held: 
Affirmed in Part; Vacated in Part; and Remanded
  • Facts: In March 2016, four children were adjudicated neglected. Over several years, the court ordered reunification as one of the concurrent permanent plans and ordered that respondent mother comply with her case plan. In January 2019, the court entered an order of guardianship of one of the children to her foster parents and waived further review hearings. Respondent mother appeals, raising several issues.
  • Constitutional Rights and Parent’s Unfitness: A parent may lose her paramount rights to care, custody, and control of her child if there is a finding based on a clear, cogent, and convincing evidence that the parent is unfit or has acted inconsistently with her constitutionally protected status. In awarding guardianship to the foster parents, the court found “both parents are acting inconsistently with the health and safety of the child and are unfit to have custody.” Sl.Op. at 10. Specific findings included mother not being able to adequately demonstrate her ability to parent, need for significant monitoring, and need to move back to supervised visits from unsupervised visits. The findings were supported by social worker testimony. Regarding mother’s challenge to the weight given to evidence of mother’s progress by the trial court, “it is not the function of [the appellate court] to reweigh evidence on appeal.” Sl.Op. at 11-12.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Disposition (All Stages Post-Adjudication)
Topic:
Guardianship
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