IN RE: M.L.C.,
Minor Juvenile. Guilford County
No. 04 J 586
James A. Dickens, attorney for petitioner-appellee Guilford
County Department of Social Services.
Smith, James, Rowlett & Cohen, L.L.P., by Margaret Rowlett, attorney for appellee guardian ad litem.
Winifred H. Dillon, attorney for respondent-appellant mother.
appeals the order terminating her parental
rights to the minor child, M.L.C. The facts relevant to this
appeal follow. On 21 September 2004, the trial court entered an
non-secure custody to the Guilford County Department
of Social Services (DSS).
On 22 September 2004, DSS filed a
juvenile petition alleging that M.L.C. was neglected and dependent.
On 23 September 2004, the trial court
entered an order continuing
non-secure custody. On 22 November 2004, the trial court
adjudicated M.L.C. as dependent on the basis of respondent-parents'
consent. On 24 March 2006, DSS filed a petition to terminate the
parental rights of both respondent-parents. On 16 April 2007, the
trial court entered an order allowing the petition. Thereafter,
the trial court entered amended termination orders on 19 April 2007
and 2 May 2007. Respondent-mother now appeals the termination of
her parental rights.
Respondent-mother's sole assignment of error on appeal is that the trial court lacked the jurisdiction to terminate her parental rights on the ground that the original juvenile petition filed in this case was invalid. Specifically, she contends that the petition does not comply with the statutory requirement that the petition be drawn by the director, verified before an official authorized to administer oaths, and filed by the clerk, recording the date of filing. N.C. Gen. Stat. § 7B-403(a) (2005).
In this case, the juvenile petition is signed by Maria Greer and lists Ms. Greer's title as SOCIAL WORKER and her agency as DEPT. OF SOCIAL SERVICES. Responent-mother asserts that this information is insufficient to indicate that the petition was drawn by the DSS director or the director's authorized representative. See N.C. Gen. Stat. §§ 7B-101(10), 108A-14(b) (2005) (defining director to include an authorized representative).
We agree that the information in the petition does not expressly indicate that Ms. Greer is an authorized representative of the DSS director. However, we have recently held that a juvenile petition that was signed by the social worker as the petitioner and listed the social worker's address as Youth andFamily Services, contained sufficient information from which the trial court could determine that the social worker had standing to initiate the action under section 7B-403. In re Dj.L., __ N.C. App. __, __, 646 S.E.2d 134, 137 (2007). We further noted in that case that the appellant never argued that the social worker was not an authorized representative of the director of DSS. Id. Accordingly, we hold in the case sub judice that the signature of Ms. Greer combined with the information that she is a social worker with DSS is sufficient information from which the trial court could conclude that Ms. Greer was authorized to file the petition.
Judges WYNN and STROUD concur.
Report per Rule 30(e).
*** Converted from WordPerfect ***