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.
  • A motion to continue is reviewed for an abuse of discretion (no constitutional right was raised) and whether prejudice resulted from the court’s error. The party seeking a continuance has the burden of showing there are sufficient grounds, and the court considers whether the continuance will further substantial justice. Mother did not meet her burden. There was no abuse of discretion. A parent’s absence from the hearing is not per se prejudicial. Mother’s attorney advocated for mother. Additionally, no indication of whether mother intended to testify or an offer of the forecast of her potential testimony was provided.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Permanency Planning Hearing
Topic:
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