In re T.D.N., 286 N.C. App. 650 (2022)

Vacated and Remanded
There is a dissent
in part, concur in part; by Carpenter, J.
  • Facts: In 2020, the juvenile was adjudicated neglected. Part of the basis for the adjudication was mother’s mental instability. In 2021, the court eliminated reunification as a permanent plan for each parent because of their lack of progress on their case plans. The court made findings that reasonable efforts would be unsuccessful, futile, and inconsistent with the juvenile’s health and safety. The court also found that legal custody of the child cannot be returned to the parents but may be possible within the next 6 months if the parents completed their case plan. Concurrent permanent plans of custody and guardianship were ordered. Mother appealed.
  • Standard of review is whether competent evidence supports the findings and whether the findings support the conclusions of law.
  • The court made the required finding under G.S. 7B-906.2(b) that reunification efforts would clearly be unsuccessful or inconsistent with the juvenile’s health and safety. However, the finding that reunification may be possible within 6 months is materially contradictory. Although an order may include both favorable and unfavorable findings where the court weighs all the findings and makes a conclusion of law based on the findings that are given the most weight, an order cannot be upheld when the findings are “antagonistic, inconsistent, or contradictory such that the reviewing court cannot ‘safely and accurately decide the question.’ ” 286 N.C. App. at 656 (citation omitted). The court also ordered mother to have a parental capacity evaluation, which is unnecessary if reunification is not a permanent plan. It is unclear if these inconsistencies were a minor mistake or inadvertence. Further, the court did not find the parental capacity evaluation was in the child’s best interests.
  • Dissent in part; concur in part: The two findings do not materially contradict one another and does not support vacating the order. One finding is unsupported by the evidence. The court erred in ordering mother to have a parental capacity evaluation without determining it was in the child’s best interests.
Abuse, Neglect, Dependency
Cease Reunification
Findings of Fact
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