The 2018 Legislative Session created and amended various North Carolina statutes affecting child welfare. Some of those changes are effective now and others at later dates. Here are the highlights. Continue Reading
North Carolina is no longer the only state in the U.S. that automatically prosecutes juveniles as adults beginning at age 16. In June, the General Assembly ended a century long practice of prosecuting teens as adults by enacting the Juvenile Justice Reinvestment Act as part of the 2017 state budget, which raised the age of criminal responsibility to 18. As a result, most 16 and 17-year-olds will be prosecuted in juvenile court beginning December 1, 2019. There are, however, some exceptions. Here’s what you should know about this historic reform. Continue Reading
Since the initial publication of this post, the Governor signed H362. This post was amended on July 31, 2017 to reflect that change and reference the session law.
The 2017 Legislative Session created and amended various statutes affecting child welfare. Some of those changes are effective now and others will become effective at later dates. This post highlights those amendments that directly impact practice in abuse, neglect, dependency, or termination of parental rights actions. A more complete summary of the numerous legislative changes can be found on the School of Government website, here. Continue Reading
*This post was updated on August 1, 2016 to reflect the Session Law for H424.
The 2016 Appropriations Act (S.L. 2016-94) addresses more than the State’s budget. Section 12.C makes substantive changes to the General Statutes in Chapter 7B that govern abuse, neglect, or dependency proceedings. The statutory amendments became effective on July 1st. In addition, S.L. 2016-115 (H424), creates a new criminal statute, “The Unlawful Transfer of Custody of a Minor Child,” and is effective for offenses committed on or after December 1, 2016. The law also amends the definition of a neglected juvenile in G.S. Chapter 7B. Continue Reading
*For more information about this new law, see the following supplemental book chapter, Suspected Child Maltreatment Occurring in a Child Care Facility, to the book, Reporting Child Abuse and Neglect in North Carolina. Both the supplemental chapter and book are available electronically and for free.
It seems fitting that the first blog post of the 2016 calendar year addresses a new law that became effective on January 1st. S.L. 2015-123 is “An Act to Transition Abuse and Neglect Investigations in Child Care Facilities to the Division of Child Development and Early Education [DCDEE] within the Department of Health and Human Services” (DHHS). In a nutshell, county child welfare agencies (county departments) retain responsibility for screening and assessing reports of suspected child abuse, neglect, and dependency by a parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker but are no longer responsible for screening and assessing reports of suspected abuse and neglect of a child in a child care facility. As a result, petitions filed in district court by a county department that allege a child has been abused or neglected will no longer be based on circumstances created in a child care facility. Instead, the DCDEE has assumed responsibility for investigating suspected child maltreatment occurring in a child care facility. These investigations are a component of NCDEE’s licensure procedures and requirements. S.L. 2015-123 sets forth the new process in Article 7 of G.S. Chapter 110.Continue Reading
First, Some Attorney Fee Basics. North Carolina generally follows the “American Rule” in requiring parties to civil litigation to be responsible for their own attorney fees: “It is well-established that the non-allowance of counsel fees has prevailed as the policy of this state at least since 1879.” Stillwell Enters, Inc. v. Interstate Equip. Co., 300 N.C. 286, 289 (1980). Attorney fee awards are allowed only when specifically authorized by statute. In general, fee-shifting is not allowed even when a party has agreed in a contract to reimburse another party’s attorney fees incurred in enforcing the agreement. Id. Two key statutory exceptions apply, however, to this rule against enforcement of attorney fee agreements. First, and most familiar, is G.S. 6-21.2, which allows enforcement of attorney fee-shifting provisions in notes, conditional sale contracts, and “other evidence of indebtedness.” I discuss the ins and outs of G.S. 6-21.2—enacted in 1967 and the subject of lots of case law—here.Continue Reading
- routine medical and dental care;
- emergency medical, surgical, or mental health care;
- testing and evaluation in exigent circumstances, and
- a Child Medical Evaluation (CME).
What about Medical Care that Is neither Routine nor an Emergency? Continue Reading
Through S.L. 2015-136, “An Act to Make Various Changes to the Juvenile Laws Pertaining to Abuse, Neglect, and Dependency,” the General Assembly enacted G.S. 7B-505.1 and G.S. 7B-903.1(e).These two new statutes address medical decision-making authority for a child who is placed in a county department’s custody through an order entered in an abuse, neglect, and dependency action. These new laws apply to all abuse, neglect, and dependency actions that were pending on or filed after October 1, 2015. Continue Reading
On October 1, 2015, several new statutes affecting abuse, neglect, and dependency cases went into effect. Three new statutes specifically address decision-making standards related to social and cultural activities for children who are placed in a county department’s custody because of abuse, neglect, or dependency. The new statutes were created by S.L. 2015-135 and are
- G.S. 131D-10.2A: Reasonable and Prudent Parent Standard,
- G.S. 7B-903.1: Juvenile Placed in Custody of Department of Social Services, and
- G.S. 48A-4: Certain Minors Competent to Contract.
UPDATE: The federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act was restored without expiration, effective June 23, 2018. This federal law must be read in conjunction with G.S. 45-21.29 and G.S. 45-21.33A provisions. The full text of the PTFA is available here.
The protections afforded to tenants in foreclosure proceedings under the federal Protecting Tenants at Foreclosure Act (PTFA) of 2009 ended on December 31, 2014. The act expired and Congress did not extend it. Effective October 1, 2015, the North Carolina General Assembly enacted a law that partially fills the hole left by the expiration of the PTFA. This post covers some of the key changes and protections resulting from a new section G.S. 45-21.33A created by S.L. 2015-178 (H 174). Continue Reading