State Codes and Statutes

State Codes and Statutes

Statutes > North-carolina > Chapter_7B > GS_7B-903

§ 7B‑903.  Dispositionalalternatives for abused, neglected, or dependent juvenile.

(a)        The followingalternatives for disposition shall be available to any court exercisingjurisdiction, and the court may combine any of the applicable alternatives whenthe court finds the disposition to be in the best interests of the juvenile:

(1)        The court maydismiss the case or continue the case in order to allow the parent, guardian,custodian, caretaker or others to take appropriate action.

(2)        In the case of anyjuvenile who needs more adequate care or supervision or who needs placement,the court may:

a.         Require that thejuvenile be supervised in the juvenile's own home by the department of socialservices in the juvenile's county, or by other personnel as may be available tothe court, subject to conditions applicable to the parent, guardian, custodian,or caretaker as the court may specify; or

b.         Place the juvenilein the custody of a parent, relative, private agency offering placementservices, or some other suitable person; or

c.         Place the juvenilein the custody of the department of social services in the county of thejuvenile's residence, or in the case of a juvenile who has legal residenceoutside the State, in the physical custody of the department of social servicesin the county where the juvenile is found so that agency may return thejuvenile to the responsible authorities in the juvenile's home state. Thedirector may, unless otherwise ordered by the court, arrange for, provide, orconsent to, needed routine or emergency medical or surgical care or treatment.In the case where the parent is unknown, unavailable, or unable to act onbehalf of the juvenile, the director may, unless otherwise ordered by thecourt, arrange for, provide, or consent to any psychiatric, psychological,educational, or other remedial evaluations or treatment for the juvenile placedby a court or the court's designee in the custody or physical custody of acounty department of social services under the authority of this or any other Chapterof the General Statutes. Prior to exercising this authority, the director shallmake reasonable efforts to obtain consent from a parent or guardian of theaffected juvenile. If the director cannot obtain such consent, the directorshall promptly notify the parent or guardian that care or treatment has beenprovided and shall give the parent frequent status reports on the circumstancesof the juvenile. Upon request of a parent or guardian of the affected juvenile,the results or records of the aforementioned evaluations, findings, ortreatment shall be made available to such parent or guardian by the directorunless prohibited by G.S. 122C‑53(d). If a juvenile is removed from thehome and placed in custody or placement responsibility of a county departmentof social services, the director shall not allow unsupervised visitation with,or return physical custody of the juvenile to, the parent, guardian, custodian,or caretaker without a hearing at which the court finds that the juvenile willreceive proper care and supervision in a safe home.

Inplacing a juvenile in out‑of‑home care under this section, thecourt shall first consider whether a relative of the juvenile is willing andable to provide proper care and supervision of the juvenile in a safe home. Ifthe court finds that the relative is willing and able to provide proper careand supervision in a safe home, then the court shall order placement of thejuvenile with the relative unless the court finds that the placement iscontrary to the best interests of the juvenile. In placing a juvenile in out‑of‑homecare under this section, the court shall also consider whether it is in thejuvenile's best interest to remain in the juvenile's community of residence.Placement of a juvenile with a relative outside of this State must be inaccordance with the Interstate Compact on the Placement of Children.

(3)        In any case, thecourt may order that the juvenile be examined by a physician, psychiatrist,psychologist, or other qualified expert as may be needed for the court todetermine the needs of the juvenile:

a.         Upon completion ofthe examination, the court shall conduct a hearing to determine whether thejuvenile is in need of medical, surgical, psychiatric, psychological, or othertreatment and who should pay the cost of the treatment. The county manager, orsuch person who shall be designated by the chairman of the countycommissioners, of the juvenile's residence shall be notified of the hearing,and allowed to be heard. If the court finds the juvenile to be in need ofmedical, surgical, psychiatric, psychological, or other treatment, the courtshall permit the parent or other responsible persons to arrange for treatment.If the parent declines or is unable to make necessary arrangements, the courtmay order the needed treatment, surgery, or care, and the court may order theparent to pay the cost of the care pursuant to G.S. 7B‑904. If the courtfinds the parent is unable to pay the cost of treatment, the court shall orderthe county to arrange for treatment of the juvenile and to pay for the cost ofthe treatment. The county department of social services shall recommend thefacility that will provide the juvenile with treatment.

b.         If the courtbelieves, or if there is evidence presented to the effect that the juvenile ismentally ill or is developmentally disabled, the court shall refer the juvenileto the area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substance abuseservices director for appropriate action. A juvenile shall not be committeddirectly to a State hospital or mental retardation center; and orderspurporting to commit a juvenile directly to a State hospital or mentalretardation center except for an examination to determine capacity to proceedshall be void and of no effect. The area mental health, developmentaldisabilities, and substance abuse director shall be responsible for arrangingan interdisciplinary evaluation of the juvenile and mobilizing resources tomeet the juvenile's needs. If institutionalization is determined to be the bestservice for the juvenile, admission shall be with the voluntary consent of theparent or guardian. If the parent, guardian, custodian, or caretaker refuses toconsent to a mental hospital or retardation center admission after suchinstitutionalization is recommended by the area mental health, developmentaldisabilities, and substance abuse director, the signature and consent of thecourt may be substituted for that purpose. In all cases in which a regionalmental hospital refuses admission to a juvenile referred for admission by acourt and an area mental health, developmental disabilities, and substanceabuse director or discharges a juvenile previously admitted on court referralprior to completion of treatment, the hospital shall submit to the court a writtenreport setting out the reasons for denial of admission or discharge and settingout the juvenile's diagnosis, indications of mental illness, indications ofneed for treatment, and a statement as to the location of any facility known tohave a treatment program for the juvenile in question.

(b)        When the court hasfound that a juvenile has suffered physical abuse and that the individualresponsible for the abuse has a history of violent behavior against people, thecourt shall consider the opinion of the mental health professional whoperformed an evaluation under G.S. 7B‑503(b) before returning thejuvenile to the custody of that individual.

(c)        If the courtdetermines that the juvenile shall be placed in the custody of an individualother than the parents, the court shall verify that the person receivingcustody of the juvenile understands the legal significance of the placement andwill have adequate resources to care appropriately for the juvenile. (1979, c. 815, s. 1; 1981, c.469, s. 19; 1985, c. 589, s. 5; c. 777, s. 1; 1985 (Reg. Sess., 1986), c. 863,s. 2; 1991, c. 636, s. 19(a); 1995 (Reg. Sess., 1996), c. 609, s. 3; 1997‑516,s. 1A; 1998‑202, s. 6; 1998‑229, ss. 6, 23; 1999‑318, s. 6;1999‑456, s. 60; 2002‑164, s. 4.8; 2003‑140, s. 9(b).)