In re A.C., 285 N.C. App. 114 (2022)

  • Facts: In 2019, the juveniles were adjudicated neglected. The court found that father failed to comply with his case plan. In 2020, father was incarcerated for different periods of time for probation violations. A TPR motion was also filed in 2020, which was granted. Father appeals.
  • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(3) authorizes a TPR when a parent willfully fails to pay for a reasonable portion of the child’s cost of care for the six months immediately preceding the filing of the TPR when the parent is financially and physically able to do so.
  • The court had clear, cogent, and convincing evidence of father’s employment and income during the relevant six month period from the testimony of the DSS employee that did not include the GAL report, which father challenges should not have been considered because it was not admitted or offered in evidence. The issue regarding the GAL report is not considered by the appellate court.
  • Evidence shows father was employed at some point during the relevant statutory six month period when he was not incarcerated and that he paid nothing toward the cost of care. These findings are sufficient to address the statutory time period.
  • Although the amount of the father’s specific earnings during the relevant time period were not in evidence, the evidence showed he was earning some money through employment, he paid zero toward the cost of care. The finding he had the ability to pay something more than zero in that 6-month period is sufficient.
Termination of Parental Rights
Failure to Pay Reasonable Cost of Care
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