In re L.M., 238 N.C. App. 345 (2014)

Affirmed in Part
Vacated and Remanded in Part
  • The appointment of a guardian of a juvenile pursuant to G.S. 7B-600 requires the court verify the person so appointed understands the legal significance of the appointment and accepts the responsibilities of being a guardian. This verification need not be a finding but may be based upon evidence presented to the court.
  • Foster Father
    • The testimony of both the DSS case worker and the foster father who was appointed as the juvenile’s guardian as well as an executed form by foster father acknowledging he accepted responsibility of the juvenile was sufficient to meet the court’s required verification. Appointment of foster father as guardian affirmed.
  • Foster Mother
    • The foster mother's understanding and acceptance of responsibilities of her appointment as legal guardian for a juvenile cannot be properly verified in the absence of any evidence regarding her. As such, foster mother’s appointment as legal guardian is vacated and remanded.
  • A parent’s progress and/or a child’s preference is not conclusive on a court’s best interests determination. Instead, a trial court exercises its discretion in weighing competent evidence before it when determining a juvenile’s best interests. It is not an abuse of discretion to find that while mother improved her life and child wanted to return home the court found mother could not adequately meet child’s needs and therefore reunification would not be in the child’s best interests.
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Disposition (All Stages Post-Adjudication)
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