AN ACT TO MAKE VARIOUS CHANGES TO THE JUVENILE CODE PURSUANT TO REVISIONS PROPOSED BY THE COURT IMPROVEMENT PROJECT. Enacted June 19, 2013. Effective October 1, 2013, applicable to actions filed or pending on or after that date.
Summary date: Jun 24 2013 - View summary
Summary date: Apr 4 2013 - View summary
House committee substitute to the 1st edition makes the following change. The act now applies to actions filed or pending on or after the October 1, 2013, effective date (was, applies to proceedings filed on or after the effective date).
Summary date: Mar 20 2013 - View summary
Makes various changes to Subchapter I. Abuse, Neglect, Dependency, ofthe Juvenile Code (GS Chapter 7B).
Amends GS 7B-101 (Definitions), deleting the definitions for community based programand shelter careand adding a definition for return home or reunification.Modifies the definition for custodiantoonly apply the term to aperson or agency that has been awarded legal custody of a juvenile by a court (was, also included a person other than the parents or legal guardian of the juvenile who had assumed the role of a parent without having been awarded legal custody of the juvenile by a court). Makes clarifying changes to thedefinition for dependent juvenile.
Amends GS 7B-200(b) to declare that a court has jurisdiction over the parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker (was, just parent or guardian) of a juvenile who has been adjudicated abused, neglected, or dependent provided that the parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker has (1) been properly served with a summons under GS 7B-406, (2) waived service of process, or (3) automatically become a party to the action under GS 7B-401.1(c) or (d).
Amends GS 7B-311(b)(2) to provide thatprior to placing the name of a person identified as a responsible individual on the responsible individuals list maintained by the Department of Healthand Human Services, one of the triggers is a courtdetermining if a personis a responsible individual as a result of a hearing on the individual's petition for judicial review (was, determination could also be made based on a juvenile petition seeking a determinationthat the person is a responsible individual).
Amends GS 7B-320 to specify that the director of social services (director)must make a diligent effort to locate a person identified as a responsible individual before sending notice to the individual by certified mail, return receipt requested (was, certified mail, restricted delivery, return receipt requested). Deletes requirement that the notice must include directions on how to file and serve the petition for judicial review. Amends GS 7B-323 to providethat if the director cannot show that an individual has received actual notice,the director isprohibited fromplacing a person on the responsible individuals list until there is an ex parte hearing at which a district court judge determines that the director made diligent efforts to find the individual. Provides that a finding that the person is evading service is relevant to determining if the director has made diligent efforts to provide notice to the person.
Requires the clerk of court to schedule a hearing on judicial review actions within 45 days (was, 15) from the date that the petition for judicial review is filed at a session of district court hearing juvenile matters, or if there is no such session, at the next session of juvenile court.
Deletes provision in GS 7B-324 that makes a person who is a respondent in an abuse or neglectjuvenile court proceeding arising from the same incident, and that proceeding results in an adjudication of abuse or neglect and a determination that the respondent is a responsible individual, ineligibleto submita petition for judicial review. Provides that if an individual seeking judicial review is named as a respondent in a juvenile case or a defendant in a criminal court case resulting from the same incident, the district court judge may stay the judicial review proceeding.
Amends GS 7B-400 to provide that removal of a juvenile from the juvenile's home under a protection planis not a basis for achange in venue if it later becomes necessary to file a juvenile petition. Provides that a director in one county who conducts an assessment in another county because a conflict of interest existsmay elect to file any resulting petition in either of those counties. Authorizes the court to grant a motion for a change of venue before adjudication forgood cause. Provides that a pre-adjudication change of venue does not affect the identity of the petitioner and that any post-adjudication change of venue mustbe pursuant to GS 7B-900.1.
Amends GS 7B-401 to provide that in actions in which custody of the juvenile is granted to the parent, there are no periodic judicial reviews of the placement, and the court has retained jurisdiction over the juvenile, then Article 8 of Subchapter I of GS 7B applies to any subsequent reports of abuse, neglect, or dependency that the director determines to require court action under GS 7B-302.
Enacts new GS 7B-401.1 regarding parties in an abuse, neglect, or dependency action. Provides that only a county director of social services or the director's designee may file a petition alleging that a juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependentand remains a party until the court terminates its jurisdiction in the case. Provides that the juvenile's parent is a partyunless (1) the parent's rights have been terminated; (2) the parent has given the child up for adoption, except the court may order the parent be a party; or (3) the parent has been convicted under GS 14-27.2 or GS 14-27.3 for an offense that resulted in the conception of the juvenile. Additionally, provides criteria for a guardian, custodian, or caretaker as a party in the case. Declares that the juvenile is a party. Provides basis for removal of a party by the court and rules regarding when intervention in the action is prohibited and when it is permissible.
Makes conforming and clarifying changes to GS 7B-402 regarding the petition. Deletes provisions providing that the petition alleging abuse or neglect may also seek a determination that a respondent is a responsible party and deletes provision that a person convicted of an offense under GS 14-27.2 or GS 14-27.3 that resulted in the conception of the juvenile does not need to be named in the petition.
Amends GS 7B-406 regarding the issuance of a summons in an action alleging that a juvenile is abused, neglected, or dependent. Deletes provision that does not require that a summons be issued toa personconvicted of an offense under GS 14-27.2 or GS 14-27.3 that resulted in the conception of the juvenile. Adds that the summons must include information as to how a parent may seek the appointment of counsel before a hearing if provisional counsel is not identified. Deletes requirement that notice of the inclusion of a respondent's name on the responsible individual listbe included with the summons.
AmendsGS 7B-407 regarding the service of summons to clarify that if service by publication is required, the cost of the service by publication is to be advanced by the petitioner and may be charged as court costs as the court directs. Deletes provision that allows holding parties,other than the juvenile, who fail to appear or fail to cause the juvenile to appear before the courtwithout a reasonable cause,incontempt.
Amends GS 7B-505 to permit the court to place the juvenile in nonsecure custody with nonrelative kin if the court determines that such a placement is in the best interests of the juvenile.Defines nonrelative kin as a person who has a substantial relationship with the juvenile. Makes conforming changes to GS 7B-506.
Makes conforming changes to GS 7B-507(c) to reference GS 7B-906.1 as enacted by this act. Makes organizing, conforming,and clarifying changes to GS 7B-600.
Amends GS 7B-602 to provide that a parent who qualifies for an appointedattorney may be permitted to proceed without an attorney only after the court examines the parent and makes findings of fact sufficient to show that the parent's waiver is knowing and voluntary. Simplifies provision for the appointment of a guardian ad litem for a parent; specifies only thatthe parent be incompetent in accordance with GS 1A-1, Rule 17. Clarifies that the guardian ad litemcannotserve as the parent's attorney. Deletes provisions specifying the practices in which guardians ad litem appointed under this section may engage. Makes conforming changes to GS 7B-1101.1.
Enacts new GS 7B-800.1 to specify issues to be considered and addressed prior to the the adjudication hearing. Permits combiningthe pre-adjudication hearing witha hearing on the need for nonsecure custody or any pretrial hearing conducted in accordance with local rules. Permits the parties to enter stipulations under GS 7B-807 or a consent order in accordance with GS 7B-801.
Amends GS 7B-803 to provide that resolution of a respondent's pending criminal charge that arises out of the same events as the juvenile petition cannot be the sole extraordinary circumstance to serve as a basis for granting a continuance.
Amends GS 7B-805 to delete a preponderance of the evidence as the standard of proof applicable to an action alleging that a respondent is a responsible individual who has abused or seriously neglected a juvenile. Makes a conforming change to GS 7B-807.
Provides that at the dispositional hearing, the court may consider any evidence including testimony or evidence from a person who is not a party if the court finds it to be relevant, reliable, and necessary to determine the needs of the juvenile and the most appropriate disposition.
Enacts a new section, GS 7B-905.1, to cover the issue of visitation when a court order removes custody of a juvenile from a parent, guardian, or custodian or makes a placement of the child outside of the home. Requires the order to provide for appropriate visitation as may be in the best interests of the juvenile, and provides that the court may also specify in the order conditions under which visitation may be suspended. Provides additional specifications regarding visitation that may be placed in the removal or placement order. Authorizes the director of social services, upon making a good faith determination that the visitation plan is inconsistent with the juvenile's health and safety, to temporarily suspend all or part of the visitation plan withoutfiling amotion to show cause, but does require the director to expeditiously file a motion for review. Includes criteria when supervised visitation may apply andfor filing a motion to review a visitation plan. Provides that the court may order the parents, guardian, or custodian to participate in custody mediation but prohibits custody mediation from allowing the participants to consent to a change in custody.
Repeals GS 7B-906 (Review of custody order) and GS 7B-907 (Permanency Planning Hearing) and makesan organizational change,enacting new GS 7B-906.1, which combines provisions for bothreview of custodyorders and permanency planning hearings.
Details the timeline for conducting a review of custody orders and review hearings after the initial permanency planning hearing. Requires written findings from the court of its assessment per the review hearings. Specifies criteria regarding content, procedure, and relevant parties to the review hearings. Permits the court to waiveholding the hearings required under this section or to order the review hearings to be held less frequently than every six months if the court makes specified findings that (1) the juvenile's placement has been for at least one year, (2) the placement is stable and continuation is in the juvenile's best interest, (3) neither the juvenile's best interest nor the rights of any party necessitate review hearings every six months, (4) all parties have knowledge that that they may file a motion for review at any time to have the matter brought before the court, and (5) the court orderhas designated a suitable person as the permanent custodian or guardian.Prohibitsthe court from waiving or refusing to conduct a review hearing if a party files a motion seeking the review. However, provides thatif a guardian has been appointed and the guardianship is the permanent plan for the juvenile, the court is to proceed in accordance with GS 7B-600(b).
Makes clarifying changes to GS 7B-908 providing that the person providing care for the juvenile is to aid in the post-termination of parental rights placement court review (was, the foster parent, relative, or pre-adoptive parent).
Amends GS 7B-909 to provide that within six months of accepting a relinquishment of a juvenile for adoption under Part 7 of GS Chapter 48, Article 3, a review of the department of social services plan for the juvenile must be scheduled for hearing at a court that hears juvenile matters, unless the juvenile has become the subject of a decree of adoption. Provides that noticeto the court of the request for review may be done by a motion for review as well as a petition for review, providing that the court has jurisdiction over the juvenile. Makes additional clarifying changes.
Amends GS 7B-911 to direct the court to determine whether or not to terminate jurisdiction upon placing a juvenile in custody with a parent orother appropriate person under GS 50-13.1, 50-13.2, 50-13.5, and 50-13.7. Makes additional organizational and conforming changes to this section.
Amends GS 7B-1001to require that both the notice of appeal and notice to preserve the right to appeal be given in writing. Requires that the notice of appeal be signed by both the appealing party and the counsel for the appealing party, if any. Makes conforming changes.
Amends GS 7B-1106 to provide for service ofa copy of all pleadings and other papers required to be served on the respondent's attorney, if one has been appointed under GS 7B-602.
Amends GS 7B-1111(a)(5) to clarify the findings on which a court may base a determination to terminate the parental rights of a father of a juvenile born out of wedlock.
Amends GS 7B-1112.1 to provide that in the selection of adoptive parents, any current person providing placement for the child who wants to adopt the child be considered. Requires that foster parents be notified of the selection of adoptive parents within 10 days of the selection and before the adoption petition isfiled. Also permits the foster parents who want to adopt the juvenile and were not selected as adoptive parents to file a motion within 10 days of the Department's notification and schedule the case for hearing on the next juvenile calendar.
Provides additional guidelines regarding the selection of adoptive parents and the rights of the foster parents.
Makes conforming changes to GS 7B-1114, GS 7B-1203(2), GS 7B-2503(1)c.,andGS 7B-2506(1)c.
Effective October 1, 2013, and applies to proceedings filed on or after that date.
Summary date: Mar 19 2013 - View summary
To be summarized 03/20/13.