An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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. COA05-107



Filed: 03 January 2006


                            Watauga County            &n bsp;                
                            No. 03 J 36

    Appeals by respondent from an order adjudicating J.L.G. abused, neglected and dependant entered 27 July 2004, and from an order relieving Watauga County Department of Social Services from its duty to pursue reunification between respondent and J.L.G. entered 24 September 2004. Both orders were entered by Judge William A. Leavell in Watauga County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 17 October 2005.

    Eggers, Eggers, Eggers & Eggers, by Stacy C. Eggers, IV, for Petitioner-Appellee Watauga County Department of Social Services.

    Leslie C. Rawls, for Respondent-Appellant.

    STEELMAN, Judge.

    J.L.G. was taken into the custody of Watauga County Department of Social Services on 20 March 2004, after it was discovered that she had sexual intercourse with a thirty-one year old man while respondent-mother was in the residence. J.L.G. was fifteen years of age at the time. Officers also found drugs and alcohol in the residence, including in respondent's and J.L.G.'s rooms. Respondent was charged with felony child abuse (sexual act) andcontributing to the delinquency of a minor. The thirty-one year old man was charged with statutory rape and possession of a schedule II substance and paraphernalia.
    An adjudication hearing was conducted in June of 2004, and the trial court entered its order adjudicating the child abused, neglected and dependant on 27 July 2004. Included in that adjudication order was a conclusion of law stating: “That the acts of the respondent mother in allowing the juvenile to engage in sexual intercourse in her presence and with her knowledge, constitutes an aggravated circumstance as defined by N.C. Gen. Stat. 7B-101(2).” A subsequent hearing was conducted in August of 2004, and an order relieving Department of Social Services of continuing reunification efforts was entered on 24 September 2004. Respondent attempts to appeal from both of these orders.

Appeal COA05-107
     Appeals concerning adjudications of abuse, neglect and dependency, such as in the instant case, are governed by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1001. See In re Padgett, 156 N.C. App. 644, 647, 577 S.E.2d 337, 340 (2003). However, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1001 provides for appeal in matters concerning adjudication of neglect and dependency only after a final order has been entered. In re Laney, 156 N.C. App. 639, 577 S.E.2d 377 (2003). N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1001 does not authorize appeal from the adjudicatory portion of the proceeding, even if it includes a temporary or interim disposition. Id.    In the instant case, the order from which respondent attempts appeal clearly states that it is an adjudication order, and sets a specific future date for a disposition hearing. Because respondent attempts to appeal from an adjudication order, and not from a final order of disposition following adjudication, appeal in COA05-107 is premature and must be dismissed. Id.
Appeal COA05-240
    In respondent's second argument in appeal COA05-240, she contends: “The trial court committed error and abused its discretion by concluding as law that relief of reunification efforts is an appropriate disposition, and by relieving the Department of reunification efforts, failing to order visitation with Mother, and ordering the Department to pursue guardianship and adoption for the child.” We disagree.
    “Our review of a trial court's conclusions of law is limited to whether the conclusions are supported by the findings of fact.” In re M.J.G., 168 N.C. App. 638, 643, 608 S.E.2d 813, 816 (2005). In the trial court's third finding of fact, which respondent does not contest, it found: “In making the Adjudication of Abuse, Neglect and Dependency, the court found aggravated circumstances; to wit: the respondent mother allowing sexual acts to occur in her home and with her knowledge between the juvenile and an individual in his thirties.” Because respondent does not contest this finding of fact, it is binding on appeal. In re Beasley, 147 N.C. App. 399, 405, 555 S.E.2d 643, 647 (2001). The trial court then concluded that relieving Department of Social Services of reunificationefforts was appropriate. The trial court based this conclusion in part on N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-507. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-507(b) states in relevant part:
        In any order placing a juvenile in the custody or placement responsibility of a county department of social services, whether an order for continued nonsecure custody, a dispositional order, or a review order, the court may direct that reasonable efforts to eliminate the need for placement of the juvenile shall not be required or shall cease if the court makes written findings of fact that:

        . . . . .

        (2) A court of competent jurisdiction has determined that the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances as defined in G.S. 7B-101[.]

N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-101 defines aggravated circumstances as: “Any circumstance attending to the commission of an act of abuse or neglect which increases its enormity or adds to its injurious consequences, including, but not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, or sexual abuse.” The trial court's third finding of fact thus supports its conclusion of law that cessation of reunification efforts was appropriate.
    In her third assignment of error, and the heading for her second argument, respondent contests the portions of the trial court's order leaving visitation decisions in the discretion of Department of Social Services, and directing Department of Social Services to “pursue guardianship and adoption potentials.” However, she does not argue these issues in her brief on appeal. These issues are therefore abandoned. N.C. R. App. P., Rule28(b)(6); Strader v. Sunstates Corp., 129 N.C. App. 562, 567-68, 500 S.E.2d 752, 755 (1998). This argument is without merit.
    In light of our holding above, we do not address respondent's first argument in her brief.
    Case 05-107 APPEAL DISMISSED.
    Case 05-240 AFFIRMED.
    Chief Judge MARTIN and Judge HUNTER concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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