In re S.R.J.T., ___ N.C. App. ___ (April 6, 2021)

Held: 
Reversed and remanded in part
Affirmed in Part
There is a dissent.
  • Facts: In 2017, the child was adjudicated neglected and dependent due to circumstances of drug abuse and domestic violence in the home. The dispositional order ceased reunification efforts, granted guardianship to the aunt, and suspended visitation and further hearings. Mother appeals both the adjudication and disposition.
  • Standard of review of an order ceasing reunification efforts is whether the findings are based on competent evidence and whether the findings support the conclusion. An abuse of discretion standard is applied.
  • Mother’s constitutional rights to care, custody, and control of her child was not raised by mother at the hearing and is waived for appellate review. Mother was on notice guardianship was an issue through the recommendations of DSS and the GAL through their reports.
  • Waiving further hearings under G.S. 7B-906.1(n) requires the court to make all the findings in that statute, which was not done. This is reversible error. Reverse and remand.
  • Author’s Note: This opinion refers to permanency planning, but it appears from the opinion that the order appealed from was an initial dispositional hearing.
Category:
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Stage:
Disposition (All Stages Post-Adjudication)
Topic:
Parent’s Rights
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