In re J.R.S., 258 N.C. App. 612 (2018)

Reversed and Remanded
  • Facts: In a previous juvenile proceeding, the two children who had been adjudicated neglected and dependent were placed in their grandparents’ legal and physical custody pursuant to G.S. 7B-911 (establishing a Chapter 50 custody order and terminating jurisdiction in the juvenile action). Months later, DSS filed a new petition based on domestic violence in the grandparents’, who are custodians, home. In this new action, the children were adjudicated neglected and dependent and placed in DSS custody. At a permanency planning hearing, the court concluded that the relinquishments to adoption executed by the children’s parents terminated the parental rights of the respondents (custodian grandparents) and the parents, effectively removed the grandparent custodians from the action, did not address visitation, and directed DSS to pursue a permanent plan of adoption. Grandparents separately appealed.
  • There were no findings to support the conclusion that it was not in the children’s best interests to be returned to the grandparent custodians. The one applicable finding adopted and incorporated the DSS and GAL reports and is insufficient. “The trial court ‘should not broadly incorporate written reports from outside sources as its findings of fact’ [and] … delegate its fact-finding duty” (quoting In re J.S., 165 N.C. App. 509, 511 (2004)).
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Disposition (All Stages Post-Adjudication)
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