in the Court of Appeals 3 May 2017.
by respondent-mother from order signed 29 August
by Judge William A. Marsh, III in Durham County No. 12 JA 239
Assistant Durham County Attorney Robin K. Martinek for
petitioner-appellee Durham County Department of Social
& Audino, LLP, by Jeffrey L. Miller, for
Administrative Office of the Courts, by GAL Appellate Counsel
Matthew D. Wunsche, for guardian ad litem.
E.B. ("respondent") appeals from an order
establishing a guardianship for her minor child M.B.
("Max"). We affirm.
Durham County Department of Social Services ("DSS")
initiated the underlying juvenile case on 10 December 2012,
when it obtained non-secure custody of Max and filed a
petition alleging that he was a neglected and dependent
juvenile. The trial court adjudicated Max to be a dependent
juvenile by order entered 16 January 2013. In its disposition
order entered 15 March 2013, the trial court continued
custody of Max with DSS, granted respondent weekly supervised
visitation with Max, and ordered respondent to: (1) obtain
substance abuse and mental health evaluations and follow any
recommendations; (2) establish and maintain mental health
services and comply with all recommendations; (3) submit to
testing for Huntington's disease; (4) obtain stable
housing and a stable source of income; and (5) participate in
a parenting program. In re M.B., __ N.C.App. ___,
782 S.E.2d 785 (2016) (unpublished) ("M.B.
court initially set the permanent plan for Max as
reunification with a parent, but respondent's mental
health deteriorated and she failed to comply with the trial
court's orders. See M.B. I. On 3 April 2014, the
trial court appointed a guardian ad litem ("GAL")
for respondent, finding that she lacked sufficient capacity
to proceed on her own behalf. In an order entered 28 May
2014, the court ceased reunification efforts with respondent
and changed the permanent plan for Max to custody with Ms.
J.M. ("Ms. Metz"), his paternal great-grandmother,
with an alternative plan of reunification with respondent.
Max has lived in the home of Ms. Metz "continuously
since June 6, 2014, during which time [Ms. Metz] has been
both a placement provider and a guardian of the child."
By order entered 15 December 2014, the trial court changed
Max's permanent plan to guardianship with Ms. Metz,
appointed Ms. Metz as his guardian, and suspended
respondent's visitation until she could show that
"her mental health has stabilized."
attempted to appeal from the trial court's 15 December
2014 order, but the trial court dismissed her appeal. By
order entered 28 May 2015, this Court issued a writ of
certiorari to review both the 15 December 2014 permanency
planning review order and the order dismissing
respondent's appeal. In our opinion in M.B. I,
this Court affirmed the trial court's order dismissing
respondent's appeal of right, but vacated and remanded
the trial court's permanency planning order because the
court had failed to verify that Ms. Metz had adequate
financial resources to care for Max.
August 2016, the trial court conducted another permanency
planning review hearing, wherein it considered further
evidence of Ms. Metz's financial ability to care for Max.
On 26 August 2016, the trial court signed an order appointing
Ms. Metz as Max's guardian. In its order, the court found
that Ms. Metz, Max, and other members of Ms. Metz's
family were living in Cleves, Ohio. The court further found
that Ms. Metz had adequate resources to care for Max and that
she understood the legal rights and responsibilities she
would have as Max's guardian. The court directed
respondent to participate in services recommended by DSS,
suspended respondent's visitation with Max until she
showed to the court that her mental health had stabilized,
ceased further reviews in the juvenile case, and released
DSS, Max's GAL, and the parties' counsel of further
duties. Within a month of the entry of this order, Ms. Metz
moved back to Durham, North Carolina. Accordingly, when
respondent filed a notice of appeal, she served it on Ms.
Metz at her address in Durham, North Carolina.
Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children
first argues that the trial court erred by appointing Ms.
Metz as Max's guardian without first complying with the
requirements of the Interstate Compact on the Placement of
Children ("ICPC" or "Compact").
Respondent contends that because Ms. Metz "was a
resident of Ohio at the time" of the entry of the
permanency planning order, the trial court's order must
be "reversed and vacated, and this matter should be
remanded for compliance with the ICPC[.]" We ...