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Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Guardianship – Constitutional – Insufficient Findings 

Domestic Relations – Parent & Child – Guardianship – Constitutional – Insufficient Findings 

After baby “Piper” was born testing positive for amphetamines and methamphetamines, and after DSS was unable to maintain contact with the respondent-mother, the trial court concluded that it was in Piper’s best interests for her guardianship to be placed with relatives. However, the trial court failed to make a finding that respondent was unfit or acted inconsistently with her constitutionally protected status before making that determination.

We vacate the trial court’s permanency planning review order and remand for further proceedings. On remand, the trial court, in its discretion, may enter a new order on the existing record or conduct any further proceedings the court deems necessary.


(Arrowood, J.) The trial court does not expressly address the factors laid out by G.S. § 7B-906.2, does not address how any of the findings should be weighed in favor or against reunification as provided by § 7B-906.2, and fails to specifically address whether respondent “remains available to the court, the department, and the guardian ad litem for the juvenile.” § 7B-906.2(d)(3). The trial court failed to make statutorily required findings of fact related to whether respondent demonstrated the degree of failure towards reunification necessary to support ceasing reunification efforts.

I would remand for application of the proper standards to the current record.

In re P.A.B. (Lawyers Weekly No. 012-337-22, 18 pp.) (Fred Gore, J.) (John Arrowood, J., concurring) Appealed from Person County District Court (Benjamin Hunter, J.) Anne Wright for respondent; Katelyn Bailey Heath and Sidney Overby for guardian ad litem; Thomas Fitzgerald for petitioner. 2022-NCCOA-541

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