In re R.B., 280 N.C. App. 424 (2021)

Reversed and remanded in part
Reversed in Part
  • Facts: Mother has a history of depression and anxiety, which she sought help for. She had difficulty caring for her son and contacted law enforcement once and friends over a period of time for assistance in caring for him. At one point when the child was with mother, mother texted a friend that she wanted to hurt her child, hated him, and that she was having great difficulty. Her friend took the juvenile for a week after receiving the text messages and then returned the child to mother. A week after the text messages were sent, DSS started an assessment. During the assessment, mother refused to allow the social worker to enter her home. However, a community behavioral health counselor was with the social worker, and mother allowed the counselor to enter her home and talked with the counselor. The counselor determined that mother was not in not of an involuntary commitment. DSS filed a petition and obtained nonsecure custody of the child that same day. The child was placed in foster care and then returned to mother’s residence while her mother (grandmother) remained in the residence to supervise. At hearing, mother and the friend testified. The text messages were introduced. The juvenile was adjudicated neglected and dependent. Mother appeals.
  • An adjudication “determine[s] the existence of the juvenile’s condition as alleged in the petition…. the court’s decisions must often be ‘predictive in nature, as the trial court must assess whether there is a substantial risk of future abuse or neglect of a child bason on the historical facts of the case.’ ” 280 N.C. App. at 431-32 (quoting In re E.P.-L.M., 272 N.C. 585, 593 (2020)).
  • To adjudicate dependency the court must make findings on both prongs of the definition: the parent has an inability to provide care or supervision and lacks an appropriate alternative child care arrangement. There was no evidence or findings that mother lacked an appropriate alternative child care arrangement. Reversed.



Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
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