In re K.H., 281 N.C. App. 259 (2022)

  • Facts: A petition alleging a neglected 10-month-old juvenile was filed by DSS based on lack of proper care and supervision and an injurious environment due to substance use by the parents and overdoses in the juvenile’s home by grandmother. At the adjudicatory hearing, testimony was received from the DSS social worker, a paramedic, a police officer, and an employee of a drug screening company. Objections to the admission of the child’s and both parents’ positive drug test results were made. The court allowed the admission of the results with the testimony of the employee of the drug screening company, who the court determined was an expert about how tests were performed and in analyzing the results. Evidence showed the juvenile was crawling and pulling up and that there were drugs and drug paraphernalia in the home. The juvenile was adjudicated neglected, and the initial dispositional order continued custody of the juvenile with DSS. Parents appeal.
  • At disposition, “[t]he district court has broad discretion to fashion a disposition from the prescribed alternatives…based upon the best interests of the child.” 281 N.C. App. at 270. There was no abuse of discretion when the trial court continued the juvenile’s placement with relatives as findings showed the child was thriving in his placement, and mother although starting to work her case plan and making some progress, only visited the child 5 times, had 2 positive drug screens, refused drug screens, and attended less than half of her classes.
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Disposition (All Stages Post-Adjudication)
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