An unpublished opinion of the North Carolina Court of Appeals does not constitute controlling legal authority.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

NO. COA05-668

NORTH CAROLINA COURT OF APPEALS

Filed: 21 March 2006

IN THE MATTER OF:                            Catawba County
    E.J.R.                                No. 02 J 247


    Appeal by respondents from order entered 1 December 2004 by Judge Burford A. Cherry in Catawba County District Court. Heard in the Court of Appeals 25 January 2005.

    Hall & Hall, by Douglas L. Hall, for respondent-mother appellant.

    Richard Croutharmel for respondent-father appellant.

    J. David Abernethy for Catawba County Department of Social Services, petitioner appellee.


    MCCULLOUGH, Judge.

    Respondent-mother A.H. and respondent-father G.R. appeal from a district court order terminating their parental rights. We affirm.

FACTS
    Respondents A.H. and G.R. are the biological parents of E.J.R. At the time of the birth of E.J.R., respondent-mother was 17 years of age and respondent-father was 18 years of age. Respondent- mother was in the custody of the Department of Social Services (DSS) when E.J.R. was born. On 29 August 2002, a petition of neglect and dependency was filed on behalf of E.J.R. alleging violence, anger management issues, marijuana use and an inability on the part of DSS to assure the safety of the newborn infant. Thepetition further cited a refusal of respondent-mother to return to her grandmother's home, respondent-mother's desire to live with respondent-father's mother with whom a violent incident had been reported, and threats by respondent-father to kill respondent- mother's family. Guardian ad litems were then appointed for respondent-mother and E.J.R. based on their age, and E.J.R. was ordered into DSS custody. However, after respondent-mother reached her 18th birthday, her appointed guardian ad litem was released by order of the court. In November 2002 an adjudication hearing was held in which both respondents consented to a finding of dependency. An adjudication order was entered on 12 November 2002 finding that E.J.R. was a dependent juvenile on the specific ground that the parents were “unable to provide for the juvenile's care or supervision and lacks an appropriate child care arrangement.” E.J.R. and respondent-mother lived together in a group home until March 2003 when E.J.R. was placed in a foster home due to respondent-mother's stealing and marijuana use.
    On 4 March 2003, respondent-mother tested positive for marijuana use. A disposition order was thereafter entered on 21 March 2003 in which respondents were required to comply with a family services case plan directing them to (1) pursue their high school diplomas or GEDs, (2) seek mental health treatment and follow the recommendations of those professionals, (3) submit to random drug screening, (4) complete an assessment for drug and alcohol treatment and follow the recommendations of the assessment, and (5) complete an assessment for domestic violence treatment andfollow the recommendations of these assessments. Respondent-mother was further ordered to participate in life and job skill training and nurturing classes and respondent-father was further ordered to participate in parenting classes, maintain stable employment, and maintain stable, independent housing.
    Respondent-father attended an initial assessment for substance abuse on 25 June 2003, at which time it was recommended that he participate in 40 hours of a substance abuse treatment group and to have a psychiatric evaluation. However, he has not followed the recommendations set forth. Respondent-father has also failed to make any effort to obtain his GED in compliance with the case plan and has refused several requests for drug screening. Further, respondent-father has lived at four different residences between March 2004 and June 2004. Both respondents tested positive for Hydrocodone in April 2004. Respondent-mother began attending GED preparation classes but failed to attend all classes and subsequently failed the GED examination. At the time of the hearing, respondent-mother had not obtained her GED. Respondent- mother further admitted at the hearing that she had failed to follow all recommendations regarding alcohol and drug issues and had refused to submit to random drug screening. One of the caseworkers, Marci Gragg, indicated that respondent-father had indicated that he did not feel smoking marijuana would in any way hinder his ability to parent his child.
    The guardian ad litem appointed to represent E.J.R. indicated that E.J.R. was doing very well in her foster home. At some pointduring the hearing on the motion to terminate parental rights, the trial judge gave a dictation of facts to which judicial notice had been taken and ordered the DSS attorney to begin drafting an order. At the end of the hearing the DSS attorney stated that no one had listened to the dictations on the tape, nor had anyone begun to draft an order. At this time, the judge took the tape back into his possession and directed that the order be drafted with no reference to the tape. The trial court ruled that the parental rights of A.H. and G.R. should be terminated because E.J.R. was neglected as defined by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-101 (2005). At the conclusion of the hearing, the judge stated “Base[d] on the evidence presented, the Court finds that it's in the child's best interests for the parental rights of both parents to be terminated.”
ANALYSIS
I
    On appeal, the respondent-father contends that the trial court erred by finding and concluding that he had neglected E.J.R. as defined by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-101. We conclude that the challenged determination must be affirmed.
    This Court reviews an order terminating parental rights for whether findings of fact are supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence, and whether those findings of fact support a conclusion that parental rights should be terminated for one of the grounds set forth in the North Carolina General Statutes. In re Oghenekevebe, 123 N.C. App. 434, 439, 473 S.E.2d 393, 398 (1996). Where a trial court concludes that parental rights should beterminated pursuant to several of the statutory grounds, the order of termination will be affirmed if the court's conclusion with respect to any one of the statutory grounds is supported by valid findings of fact. In re Swisher, 74 N.C. App. 239, 240-41, 328 S.E.2d 33, 34-35 (1985).
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1111(a)(1)(2005) states that a parent's rights to a child may be terminated if the parent has abused or neglected the juvenile. A neglected juvenile is one “who does not receive proper care, supervision, or discipline from the juvenile's parent” or “who lives in an environment injurious to the juvenile's welfare.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-101(15) (2005). “[E]vidence of neglect by a parent prior to losing custody of a child -- including an adjudication of such neglect -- is admissible in subsequent proceedings to terminate parental rights.” In re Ballard, 311 N.C. 708, 715, 319 S.E.2d 227, 232 (1984). “The trial court must also consider any evidence of changed conditions in light of the evidence of prior neglect and the probability of a repetition of neglect.” Id.
    In the motion to terminate parental rights, it was alleged that respondent-father had neglected E.J.R. by failing to follow through with his alcohol and drug classes as recommended despite his own admission of a drug use history. The trial court made findings of fact that respondent-father had refused to submit to drug screens, failed to maintain stable housing, failed to attend alcohol and drug treatment classes, failed to complete the nurturing program, tested positive for drugs, and has pendingcriminal charges for a misdemeanor breaking. Further, respondent- father stated to a caseworker that he had no plans of discontinuing the use of drugs because it did not affect his parenting skills. All these findings are amply supported by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence presented at the termination hearing through the testimony of respondents as well as several DSS caseworkers. Further, these findings support the trial court's conclusion that respondent-father “has neglected the minor child as defined by North Carolina General Statutes Section 7B-101.” Therefore, this assignment of error is overruled. This issue is not appealed by respondent-mother and is therefore not addressed by this Court.
    Our holding with respect to this ground for termination makes it unnecessary for us to consider respondent-father's arguments concerning the other grounds upon which his parental rights were terminated. See Swisher, 74 N.C. App. at 240-41, 328 S.E.2d at 34-35. The corresponding assignments of error are overruled.
II
    Respondent-father further contends on appeal that the lower court abused its discretion in finding that it was in the best interest of E.J.R. to terminate his parental rights. We disagree.
    If the lower court determines that grounds to terminate parental rights existed, “the court shall issue an order terminating the parental rights of such parent with respect to the juvenile unless the court shall further determine that the best interests of the juvenile require that the parental rights of the parent not be terminated.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1110(a) (2003),amended by 2005 N.C. Session Laws ch. 398, § 17. “The trial court's decision to terminate parental rights, if based upon a finding of one or more of the statutory grounds supported by evidence in the record, is reviewed on an abuse of discretion standard.” In re McMillon, 143 N.C. App. 402, 408, 546 S.E.2d 169, 174, disc. review denied, 354 N.C. 218, 554 S.E.2d 341 (2001).
    In the instant case, the trial court properly found that respondent-father had neglected E.J.R. and there was a probability of repetition of the neglect. Moreover, the evidence at the termination hearing demonstrated that the child was doing well in her foster home. Based on the foregoing, this Court is not inclined to find that the trial court abused its discretion in determining that terminating the parental rights of respondent-father was in the best interests of the child. Therefore, this assignment of error is overruled.     
III
    Respondent-mother does not contend on appeal that the trial court erred in determining that sufficient grounds existed to terminate parental rights and therefore this issue is not addressed. However, respondent-mother does contend that the trial court erred in failing to appoint a guardian ad litem for her during the hearing. We disagree.
    The former Chapter 7 of our statutes required that a guardian ad litem be appointed to represent a parent in termination of parental rights proceedings where the parent's incapability is alleged as a ground for termination. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1101(2003), amended by 2005 N.C. Session Laws ch. 398, § 14. However, this statute does not require appointment of a guardian ad litem for a parent every time dependency or substance abuse is alleged; instead it is only when the parent's incapability as a result of the substance abuse is alleged. See In re H.W., 163 N.C. App. 438, 447, 594 S.E.2d 211, 216, disc. review denied, 358 N.C. 543, 599 S.E.2d 46, disc. review denied, 358 N.C. 543, 603 S.E.2d 877 (2004).
    In the instant case, there was no allegation of an incapability to parent due to substance abuse. In fact, the petition specifically alleged that the juvenile was dependent based on the inability of the juvenile's parent to provide for the juvenile's care or supervision and a lack of appropriate alternative child care arrangements. Moreover, the facts alleged in the petition referenced a refusal of respondent-mother to return to her grandmother's home, respondent-mother's desire to live with respondent-father's mother with whom a violent incident had been reported, and threats by respondent-father to kill respondent- mother's family. Therefore, this assignment of error is overruled.
IV
    Respondent-mother further contends that the trial court erred in failing to adjudicate the motion to terminate parental rights within 90 days as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1109 (2003), amended by 2005 N.C. Session Laws ch. 398, § 16, and failing to enter an adjudication and dispositional order within 30 days of thehearing to terminate parental rights as required by N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 7B-1109(d) and (e) and 7B-1110(a). We disagree.
    N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1109 allows a continuance of a hearing for up to 90 days from the filing date of the initial petition. That 90-day period may be extended “in extraordinary circumstances when necessary for the proper administration of justice, and the court shall issue a written order stating the grounds for granting the continuance.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1109(d).
    In the instant case, a petition to terminate parental rights had been filed as to respondents on 16 February 2004. At a hearing before the court on 13 April 2004 the judge determined, and entered an order reflecting such, that the matter should be continued in order to set a special session so that the court could hear the entire matter at one time. The order further contained that the special session was to be held on 7 June 2004 for hearing and determination on the matters of parental rights and a permanency planning review. This Court declines to find that it was error for the court to determine that it was in the interests of justice to grant a continuance beyond the 90-day period in order to hold one hearing on all issues.
    Further, Section 7B-1109(e) of our General Statutes provides that, following the trial court's adjudication of a termination petition, “[t]he adjudicatory order shall be reduced to writing, signed, and entered no later than 30 days following the completion of the termination of parental rights hearing.” N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-1109(e). However, orders terminating parental rights shouldnot be reversed for failure to meet the specified time line unless prejudice can be shown. See In re J.L.K., 165 N.C. App. 311, 315- 16, 598 S.E.2d 387, 390-91, disc. review denied, 359 N.C. 68, 604 S.E.2d 314 (2004).
    Even though the court ordered a special session to hear all issues in the pending case, the hearing had to be conducted on four separate days beginning on 7 June 2004 and concluding on 14 July 2004. The judgment and order was not filed until 1 December 2004. However, on the facts of this case, vacating the order is not an appropriate remedy for the trial court's failure to enter the order within 30 days of the hearing. Our review of the transcript reveals that in the judge's oral adjudication, he stated that the court was finding it to be in the best interest of the child to terminate parental rights of both parents. Respondent-mother filed her written notice of appeal from the trial court's adjudication on 26 July 2004, shortly after the hearing and approximately four months before the order was reduced to writing, signed, and entered. Respondent-mother has failed to demonstrate that she suffered any prejudice by the trial court's delay. Therefore, this assignment of error is overruled.
V
    Both respondents contend on appeal that the trial court erred in dictating findings of fact from the record and instructing the petitioner to begin drafting an order before the close of the evidence. We disagree.     A trial judge may direct the prevailing party to prepare a judgment in draft including proposed findings of fact and conclusions of law for the judge to review and determine whether or not to adopt as their own. See Johnson v. Johnson, 67 N.C. App. 250, 313 S.E.2d 162 (1984).
    The trial judge took judicial notice of certain matters before the court. In taking judicial notice of these matters, the judge dictated his findings and turned them over to the DSS attorney to begin drafting an order. However, at the end of the hearing, the DSS attorney informed the judge that no draft had been started and that no one had listened to the tape. In turn, the judge retrieved the dictations and ordered that a draft be started without allusion to the tape. Even assuming arguendo that it was error for the judge to order the attorney to begin a draft prior to the close of the hearing, it cannot be said that there was any prejudice or harm in this instance. There was no draft submitted to the judge and the tape containing the dictations was retrieved. This assignment of error is overruled.
    Therefore, the trial judge properly found that there was sufficient evidence of grounds for terminating respondents' parental rights and finding that, within his discretion, termination was in the best interest of the child. Moreover, we decline to find that the trial court committed error warranting reversal in failing to appoint a guardian ad litem for respondent- mother, failing to adjudicate the motion within 90 days, reducing the order to writing more than 30 days after the hearing, ordictating facts to be drafted in an order before the conclusion of the hearing. Furthermore, this Court finds no merit in the remaining assignments of error and they are therefore overruled.
    Affirmed.
    Judges ELMORE and LEVINSON concur.
    Report per Rule 30(e).

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