An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority. Citation is disfavored, but may be permitted in accordance with the provisions of Rule 30(e)(3) of the North Carolina Rules of Appellate Proced ure.

NO. COA02-1117

NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS

Filed: 17 June 2003

IN RE:                            New Hanover County          &nb sp;             
PATRICIA HOBSON                    No. 00 J 297

    Appeal by respondent from an order entered 28 June 2002, nunc pro tunc, 4 April 2002, by Judge J.H. Corpening, II, in New Hanover County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 14 May 2003.

    Julia Talbutt, Attorney for New Hanover County Department of Social Services, for petitioner-appellee.

    Annick Lenoir-Peek, for respondent-appellant.

    Regina Floyd-Davis, guardian ad litem.

    STEELMAN, Judge.

    On 20 June 2000, the New Hanover County Department of Social Services (“DSS”) filed a petition alleging Patricia Hobson (“Patricia”), then two months old, was a neglected and dependent juvenile. A nonsecure custody order was entered granting custody to DSS.
    On 22 June 2000, the trial court held a hearing on the need for continued custody and ordered continued custody to DSS for placement in foster care. A second hearing on the need for continued custody was held on 29 June 2000, and the trial court again authorized continued custody with DSS for placement in foster care. The trial court also ordered visitation at least twice per week for Patricia's mother, Elizabeth Hernandez (“respondent”), and delayed adjudication on the DSS petition until respondent receiveda psychological evaluation. Patricia remained in foster care until October 2000, when she was placed with her paternal grandparents, Carolyn and Gary Barefoot (“Barefoots”).
    The adjudication hearings were held on 19 October 2000, 20 November 2000, and 23 January 2001. In its order, the trial court found that respondent had been diagnosed with bipolar disorder and histrionic personality disorder and that respondent's emotional condition hindered her ability to parent adequately. The trial court determined Patricia to be a neglected and dependent juvenile, ordered continued custody with DSS, ordered supervised visitation with respondent at least weekly and established a plan of reunification with respondent. The trial court further ordered respondent to do the following: (1) participate in psychological treatment on a weekly basis; (2) participate in an anger management program; (3) take all medications prescribed for her mental illness in the manner prescribed; (4) submit to urine screens on a regular and random basis; and (5) participate in intensive parenting classes.
    After a 26 April 2001 review hearing for the adjudication order, the trial court ordered respondent's continued participation in the above programs, weekly visitation, a study of respondent's home as to suitability for Patricia's return and continued custody with DSS and placement with the Barefoots. The trial court entered essentially the same order following a second review hearing on 30 August 2001.
    Beginning 22 February 2001, Dr. Yael Gold (“Dr. Gold”)provided weekly psychological treatment for respondent. As of February 2002, Dr. Gold determined that respondent was defensive and resistant to discussing her mental illness and “need[ed] to achieve a greater degree of emotional stability prior to being granted full custody of her child.”
    After a permanency planning hearing on 4 April 2002, the trial court found that reunification with respondent was no longer in Patricia's best interests and granted custody of Patricia to the Barefoots. Respondent appealed this permanency planning order.

I.
    Respondent first argues that the trial court's permanency planning order violates N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(c) (2001) because it was not reduced to writing, signed and entered within thirty days following the completion of the permanency planning hearing. She requests this Court reverse the trial court's order and dismiss the neglect and dependency petition.
    Although it is clear that the trial court failed to enter the order within thirty days of the permanency planning hearing as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(c), respondent has failed to demonstrate prejudicial error. The order did not sever an existing relationship between Patricia and respondent since the child had not been in her custody since 22 June 2000. Respondent was granted continued visitation, and these rights were not affected by the late entry of the order. Further, respondent had the opportunity to file a motion for review of the matter pursuant to N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-906(b) (2001) but failed to do so even though she wasrepresented by counsel. Respondent provided oral notice of appeal from the trial court's order on 11 April 2002, and her rights to such appeal were not affected by the error in entering the order. We hold the failure to sign and enter the order within thirty days as required by statute is harmless error and does not present grounds for reversal. See Osborne v. Osborne, 129 N.C. App. 34, 497 S.E.2d 113 (1998).
II.
    In her second assignment of error, respondent contends the trial court violated N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 7B-906(a) & 907(a) (2001) by failing to review this matter prior to the 4 April 2002 hearing.
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-906(a) provides that “[i]n any case where custody is removed from a parent...the court shall conduct a review hearing within 90 days from the date of the dispositional hearing and shall conduct a review hearing within six months thereafter.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(a) also provides that in cases where custody is removed from a parent, “the judge shall conduct a review hearing designated as a permanency planning hearing within 12 months after the date of the initial order removing custody, and the hearing may be combined, if appropriate, with a review hearing required by G.S. 7B-906.”
    After adjudication on the petition on 23 January 2001, review hearings were held on 26 April 2001 and 30 August 2001. Due to several changes in representation for respondent, the trial court did not review this matter again until 4 April 2002. Margaret A. Jennings represented respondent until she withdrew on 7 September2001. Laurie Peregoy then was appointed to represent respondent, and her representation continued until 29 November 2001. Next, Ruchadina Waddell was appointed to represent respondent on 29 November 2001, and Geannine Boyette was appointed on 23 January 2002. Ms. Boyette requested discovery from DSS and noted her need for a continuance. The permanency planning review was scheduled within three months for 4 April 2002. The delay in the permanency planning hearing was necessary to ensure adequate representation of respondent. We find respondent failed to demonstrate material prejudice in the hearing delay and hold this assignment of error is without merit.
III.
    Respondent next contends the trial court erred in finding that she failed to comply with previous orders and the family services case plan.
    If the trial court's findings of fact are supported by competent evidence, these findings are conclusive on appeal, even if there is evidence to sustain contrary findings. Sain v. Sain, 134 N.C. App. 460, 517 S.E.2d 921 (1999). The trial court made the following finding in its permanency planning order:
        Other than continued participation in therapy, Ms. Hernandez has not complied with the prior Orders and the Family Services Case Plan. That Ms. Hernandez has not made progress in addressing those issues which must be addressed in order to continue the plan of reunification. That Ms. Hernandez's extreme emotionality and behavior on the occasion of the social worker's visit in November 2001, and on the recent visitation mirror her behavior of 20 June 2000, which necessitated the placement of Patricia. That Ms. Hernandez has developed no better understanding of her daughter's developmental needs and can voice no realization of her daughter's autism.
     The orders entered 23 January 2001 and 26 April 2001 directed Hernandez to participate on a weekly basis in psychological treatment; to participate in an intensive program of anger management; to take all medications prescribed for treatment of her mental illness in the manner prescribed; to submit to urine screens on a regular and random basis; and to participate in intensive parenting classes. In addition, the DSS recommendation and case plan required respondent to obtain employment and “baby-proof” her home.
    Although respondent complied with the order to participate in psychological treatment and parenting classes, evidence presented to the trial court indicated she failed to comply with the other requirements. There is no evidence that Hernandez participated in any program for anger management. DSS reported that respondent admitted to her psychologist that she had not been taking her medication as prescribed.
    Furthermore, evidence was presented that respondent had been unable to maintain employment for any length of time, although she was employed at the time of the hearing. The DSS report dated 4 April 2002 indicates that respondent had been unable to baby-proof her home and that she did not have an understanding of how to parent Patricia or of Patricia's needs.
    Where there was sufficient evidence that respondent had not made progress in correcting conditions to provide a safe home forPatricia, the reviewing court will not disturb the findings of the trial court even when there is evidence to the contrary. In re Helms, 127 N.C. App. 505, 491 S.E.2d 672 (1997). We hold the trial court did not err in finding respondent had failed to comply with prior orders and the case plan.
IV.
    Respondent further argues the trial court erred in finding and concluding that it would be in Patricia's best interests to be placed with the Barefoots.
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(c) grants the trial court authority “to place the child in the custody of either parent or any relative found by the court to be suitable and...to be in the best interest of the juvenile.” The trial court is vested with broad discretion in child custody decisions, Sain, supra, and, where there is competent evidence to support the trial court's findings, they are conclusive on appeal, In re Eckard, 144 N.C. App. 187, 547 S.E.2d 835 (2001). The trial court is required to make express findings only on those facts material to the resolution of the dispute. Buckingham v. Buckingham, 134 N.C. App. 82, 516 S.E.2d 869, disc. review denied, 351 N.C. 100, 540 S.E.2d 353 (1999). The findings of fact must support the trial court's conclusion that its permanent plan for custody is in the child's best interests. Sain, supra.
    Here, the trial court found that respondent had not acknowledged that her own mental health issues affected her parenting and that her psychologist recognized respondent was notcapable of caring for Patricia. The trial court also found that respondent had been unable to make her home safe for Patricia despite several recommendations to do so from DSS and that her behavioral and anger problems had continued. Further, the trial court found that respondent had been unable to maintain continuous employment and had not complied with a substantial portion of the court's prior orders. Finally, the court found that a permanent plan of reunification was no longer in Patricia's best interests and that permanent placement with the Barefoots would be in her best interests.
    Reports from DSS and Patricia's guardian ad litem as well as testimony from respondent's psychologist and other witnesses support the trial court's findings. These findings, in turn, support the trial court's determination that it was in Patricia's best interests to be placed permanently with the Barefoots. This assignment of error is without merit.
V.
    In her next assignment of error, respondent argues the trial court erred in closing the case when prior orders had announced reunification as the permanent plan. Because we have held that the trial court did not err in finding respondent failed to comply with prior orders and the case plan and that it properly concluded that it would be in Patricia's best interests to be placed with the Barefoots, we further hold that trial court did not err in closing this case. This assignment of error is without merit.
VI.
    Finally, respondent contends the trial court failed to make written findings required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(b). Respondent argues the trial court did not make a specific finding as to whether it was possible for Patricia to return home within six months.
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(b) provides that
        At the conclusion of the [permanency planning] hearing, if the juvenile is not returned home, the court shall consider the following criteria and make written findings regarding those that are relevant:

        (1) Whether it is possible for the juvenile to be returned home immediately or within the next six months, and if not, why it is not in the juvenile's best interests to return home;

        (2) Where the juvenile's return home is unlikely within six months, whether legal guardianship or custody with a relative or some other suitable person should be established, and if so, the rights and responsibilities which should remain with the parents;

        (3) Where the juvenile's return home is unlikely within six months, whether adoption should be pursued and if so, any barriers to the juvenile's adoption;

        (4) Where the juvenile's return home is unlikely within six months, whether the juvenile should remain in the current placement or be placed in another permanent living arrangement and why;

        (5) Whether the county department of social services has since the initial permanency plan hearing made reasonable efforts to implement the permanent plan for the juvenile;

        (6) Any other criteria the court deems necessary.
N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(c) further requires the trial court to “make specific findings as to the best plan of care to achieve a safe, permanent home for the juvenile within a reasonable period of time.” The court's findings must be sufficient to allow this Court to determine whether the judgment is supported by adequate evidence. In re Anderson, 151 N.C. App. 94, 564 S.E.2d 599 (2002).
    The trial court found that respondent had been unable to make her home safe for Patricia despite recommendations to do so and that she had become visibly upset and yelled at a social worker and the guardian ad litem who had visited the home for a scheduled inspection. The court also found that DSS “ha[d] made reasonable efforts to reunify” Patricia and respondent but that respondent had not addressed the issues necessary to continue a plan of reunification. The trial court concluded that permanent placement with the Barefoots served Patricia's best interests and ordered supervised visitation with respondent.
    Even assuming the trial court erred in not finding specifically that it was not in Patricia's best interests to return home within six months, we conclude that such omission did not prejudice respondent, since the other findings adequately support the decision to place Patricia with the Barefoots. Therefore, any error under N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-907(b) was harmless. See Osborne, supra.
    AFFIRMED.
    Judges TIMMONS-GOODSON and HUDSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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