In re L.G., ___ N.C. App. ___ (Nov. 17, 2020)

Held: 
Remanded
  • Facts: The juvenile was adjudicated abused and neglected based on circumstances involving her parents’ substance use and housing instability. Mother did not appear at the last permanency planning hearing due to her enrolling in an inpatient substance abuse treatment facility immediately before the hearing. Mother was represented by her attorney, who made an oral motion to continue, which the court denied. After hearing, the court entered a permanency planning order (PPO) that established a primary permanent plan of guardianship and secondary plan of reunification. A second order, a guardianship order, was entered. Mother appeals.
  • Waive Reviews/Terminate Jurisdiction:  G.S. 7B-906.1(n) authorizes the court to waive periodic permanency planning hearings if it makes each of the 5 enumerated findings by clear and convincing evidence. One of those findings is that the child will have been in the current placement for one year four days after the hearing. The court lacked authority to waive the hearings since the juvenile had not resided in the placement for one year at the time of the hearing. The PPO also states that the action may be removed from the juvenile docket and DSS and the appointed attorneys will be released as of the one year date (4 days after the hearing), that any party may request a review, and that “jurisdiction of this [c]ourt over such person shall dissolve.” Sl.Op. at 19. Additionally, reunification was ordered as a secondary plan, entitling mother to reasonable efforts provided by DSS and the right for the court to review those efforts. Remanded to satisfy G.S. 7B-906.1(n) findings and to retain  jurisdiction and for DSS to continue reunification efforts.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Permanency Planning Hearing
Topic:
Waive 7B-906.1 Hearings
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