in the Court of Appeals 3 April 2017.
by respondent mother from order entered 5 July 2016 by Judge
Christy E. Wilhelm in Cabarrus County, Nos. 13 JT 121-24
Stephen A. Moore and H. Jay White for petitioner-appellee
Cabarrus County Department of Human Services.
L. Hayes for respondent-appellant.
Brandon J. Huffman for guardian ad litem.
the trial court's findings and conclusions do not
adequately account for respondent-mother's circumstances
at the time of the termination hearing, as required to
support a termination of her parental rights under N.C. G.S.
§ 7B-1111(a)(1) or (2), we vacate and remand.
October 2013, the Cabarrus County Department of Human
Services ("CCDHS") obtained non-secure custody of
the respondent-mother's minor children A.B. (born October
2001), C.B. (born August 2006), J.B. (born March 2010), and
A.B. (born November 2012) (collectively, "the
children"). CCDHS filed petitions alleging that
they were neglected "due to ongoing substance abuse and
domestic violence" by respondent-mother and
respondent-father (collectively, "respondents"),
which "place[d] their four young children at risk of
harm" and created an environment injurious to their
welfare. The petition described CCDHS's unsuccessful
efforts to provide treatment services to respondents and
implement a safety resource plan after substantiating reports
of neglect and physical abuse, which reports included
respondent-father's inappropriate physical discipline of
respondents' two oldest daughters, who were then six and
eleven years of age. The initial child protective services
report was received on 25 February 2013.
trial court held a hearing on CCDHS's petitions on 13
March 2014 and adjudicated the children to be neglected and
dependent juveniles. It maintained the children in CCDHS
custody and directed that they remain in their current
placements. In its disposition, the court
identified "substance abuse, improper supervision,
injurious environment and domestic violence involving the
parents" as the "issues which led to [the
children's] placement" outside the home. It found
that "[t]he following community-level services [were]
needed to strengthen the home situation and to remediate or
remedy the issues which led to placement:
a. Psychological Evaluation
b. Drug/Alcohol Screens
c. Mental Health Treatment
d. Medication Management e. Parenting Education
f. Suitable [H]ousing[.]"
trial court imposed separate case plans for each respondent
to address these concerns. Respondent-mother was ordered to
obtain a new substance abuse evaluation through Genesis and
follow any recommendations; submit to random drug screens as
requested by CCDHS; comply with the recommendations of her
parenting capacity evaluation by Dr. Susan Hurt; complete a
court-approved parenting course and demonstrate skills
learned in the course during visitation; comply with her
visitation plan; attend the children's medical, dental,
and school appointments; maintain bi-weekly contact with her
CCDHS social worker, reporting any changes in address,
employment, or other significant events; sign releases
allowing CCDHS to obtain information from service providers;
"maintain her own suitable housing, including utilities,
appropriate for the placement of all the children" for
at least six months; and maintain employment allowing her to
provide financially for her children for a continuous four-
to six-month period. The court established reunification as
the permanent plan.
trial court ceased reunification efforts as to
respondent-father in June 2015 and instituted concurrent
permanent plans of reunification with respondent-mother only
and adoption. At a subsequent review hearing on 13 August
2015, the court relieved CCDHS of further reunification
efforts as to ...