pursuant to N.C. G.S. § 7B-1001(a1)(1) from an order
entered on 17 December 2018 by Judge Monica Bousman in
District Court, Wake County. This matter was calendared in
the Supreme Court on 1 August 2019 but determined on the
record and briefs without oral argument pursuant to Rule
30(f) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Procedure.
of the Wake County Attorney, by Mary Boyce Wells, for
petitioner-appellee Wake County Human Services.
Everett Gaskins Hancock LLP, by Katherine A. King, for
appellee Guardian ad Litem.
Mercedes O. Chut for respondent-appellant mother.
mother appeals from the trial court's order terminating
her parental rights to T.N.H. (Troy). We affirm.
September 2015, Wake County Human Services (WCHS) obtained
non-secure custody of Troy and his sister, T.B.,
after receiving reports of alleged domestic violence between
respondent and Troy's father C.H. WCHS subsequently filed
a petition in which it claimed that Troy and T.B. were
neglected juveniles. The petition claimed that respondent
alleged that C.H. had assaulted her and threatened to kill
Troy and T.B. WCHS further noted that respondent had a
history of sixteen prior Child Protective Services (CPS)
reports of neglect dating back to 2000. Several of
respondent's older children have been removed from her
care due to neglect and have not been returned to her care.
November 2015, based on stipulations made by the parties,
Troy and T.B. were adjudicated to be neglected juveniles. On
8 January 2016, the trial court entered a dispositional order
in which it left custody of Troy and T.B. with WCHS and
ordered respondent to comply with an out of home family
services agreement. Troy and T.B. were placed in foster care
and respondent was ordered to comply with a visitation plan
that included visitation to be supervised by WCHS. On 13
September 2016, the trial court adopted an initial primary
permanent plan of reunification with a secondary permanent
plan of adoption.
July 2017, the trial court held a review hearing regarding
Troy pursuant to N.C. G.S. § 7B-906.1. At that time,
Troy had been placed with his paternal grandmother, J.H., for
approximately eight and a half months and was thriving in his
placement with her. The trial court found, however, that
respondent was not making adequate progress towards
satisfying the requirements of her case plan within a
reasonable amount of time, that respondent had acted in a
manner inconsistent with Troy's health or safety, and
that it was unlikely that Troy could return to her care
within six months. The trial court determined that the best
primary permanent plan for Troy was guardianship and that
Troy should be placed in the guardianship of J.H. Respondent
and C.H. were granted visitation with Troy, which was to be
supervised and monitored by J.H.
January 2018, WCHS received a report that Troy was neglected
and had received improper supervision. Upon investigation,
WCHS determined that in December 2017, J.H. had allowed Troy
to stay unsupervised with his parents in a motel room where
they had been living, in violation of the trial court's
orders. During Troy's stay with his parents, he left the
motel room and met a man. The man took Troy to a store,
bought Troy a toy, then took Troy back to his motel room
where he bathed him, washed his genitals, and took photos of
Troy naked. Following this incident, J.H. noticed regression
in Troy's behavior and Troy told J.H. about the incident.
J.H. notified Troy's father about the disclosure and C.H.
soon told respondent about the incident. However, neither
respondent, C.H., or J.H. contacted WCHS to report the
suspected sexual abuse. Troy's disruptive behavior
subsequently became so severe that he was hospitalized at UNC
Hospital on 21 January 2018 and transferred to Central
Regional Hospital on 24 January 2018. On 14 February 2018,
WCHS obtained non-secure custody of Troy and filed a petition
alleging that Troy was a neglected juvenile. On 7 June 2018,
the trial court adjudicated Troy to be a neglected juvenile,
terminated J.H.'s guardianship, and continued custody
with WCHS. Respondent was not allowed visitation with Troy.
August 2018, WCHS filed a motion to terminate
respondent's and C.H.'s parental rights on two
grounds. The first ground was neglect. See N.C. G.S.
§ 7B-1111(a)(1) (2017). The second ground was that
respondent's parental rights with respect to another
child had been terminated involuntarily and she lacked the
ability or willingness to establish a safe home. See
N.C. G.S. § 7B-1111(a)(9) (2017). The trial court held a
hearing on the motion to terminate on 13 December 2018, but
C.H. could not attend because he was hospitalized so the
hearing was continued as to C.H. On 17 December 2018, the
trial court entered an order finding that the evidence in the
case established facts sufficient to support the termination
of respondent's parental rights on both grounds alleged
in the motion. The trial court further concluded it was in
Troy's best interests that respondent's parental
rights be terminated. Accordingly, the trial court terminated
respondent's parental rights. Respondent gave timely
notice of appeal to this Court pursuant to N.C. G.S.
§§ 7A-27(a)(5) and 7B-1001(a1)(1).
argues on appeal that the trial court erred in terminating
her parental rights because it did not receive sufficient
evidence or make adequate findings of fact.
Juvenile Code provides for a two-stage process for the
termination of parental rights: the adjudicatory stage and
the dispositional stage. N.C. G.S. §§ 7B-1109,
-1110 (2017). At the adjudicatory stage, the petitioner bears
the burden of proving by "clear, cogent, and convincing
evidence" the existence of one or more grounds for
termination under section 7B-1111(a) of the General Statutes.
N.C. G.S. § 7B-1109(e), (f) (2017). We review a trial
court's adjudication under N.C. G.S. § 7B-1109
"to determine whether the findings are supported by
clear, cogent and convincing evidence and the findings
support the conclusions of law." In re
Montgomery, 311 N.C. 101, 111, 316 S.E.2d 246, 253
(1984) (citing In re Moore, 306 N.C. 394, 404, 293
S.E.2d 127, 133 (1982)). "If [the trial court]
determines that one or more grounds listed in section 7B-1111
are present, the court proceeds to the dispositional stage,
at which the court must consider whether it is in the best
interests of the juvenile to terminate parental rights."
In re D.L.W., 368 N.C. 835, 842, 788 S.E.2d 162, 167
(2016) (citing In re Young, 346 N.C. 244, 247, 485
S.E.2d 612, 614-15 (1997); N.C. G.S. § 7B-1110).
the trial court made extensive findings of fact in support of
its determination that grounds existed to support the
termination of respondent's parental rights. The court
found that respondent had a history of CPS reports for
neglect and that at least four of her children had been
removed from her care. Troy was born prematurely at thirty
weeks and respondent tested positive for both cocaine and
marijuana at Troy's birth. Another child of
respondent's was born prematurely at twenty-seven weeks
and tested positive for cocaine at birth. Over the years
there were several reports concerning respondent regarding:
improper care, lack of housing, and substance abuse by
respondent and C.H. There were also reports that C.H. was
violent in the home and that he abused drugs in front of
respondent's child. One of respondent's other sons