In re D.R.J., 381 N.C. 381 (2022)

  • Facts: In 2018, the juvenile was adjudicated neglected and placed in DSS custody. Reunification was eliminated as a permanent plan. In 2020, DSS filed a TPR motion alleging failure to pay the reasonable cost of care and dependency as the grounds. The motion incorporated prior orders from the underlying juvenile case. The court ordered the TPR on both grounds alleged, neglect, failure to make reasonable progress, and willful abandonment. Father appeals.
  • G.S. 7B-1104(6) requires that a TPR motion allege sufficient facts to warrant a determination that a ground exists. Although the factual allegations do not need to be exhaustive or extensive, they must be sufficient to put a party on notice as to what acts, omission, and conditions are at issue.
  • The motion does not adequately allege neglect or failure to make reasonable progress, rejecting the GAL’s and DSS’s arguments that the attached orders were sufficient notice. No statements in the motion allege the statutory language for neglect or failure to make reasonable progress. A TPR motion cannot be conformed to evidence presented at the hearing, which is what DSS and the GAL are attempting to do. The court erred in concluding neglect and failure to make reasonable progress existed. The court also erred in concluding father willfully abandoned the juvenile as that ground was alleged for mother only.
  • Father did not waive appellate review by not objecting at trial since he did not have notice of the grounds that were decided until the written TPR order.
Termination of Parental Rights
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