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 TPR was granted and father appeals.
  • G.S. 7B-1111(a)(3) authorizes the court to terminate a parent’s rights when the juvenile has been placed in DSS custody or a foster home and the parent has willfully failed to pay for the 6 months immediately preceding the filing of the TPR petition or motion a reasonable cost of the juvenile’s care despite having the physical and financial ability to do so.
  • The findings are insufficient to support the conclusion the ground exists. There is one finding related to this ground, which is that the parent paid nothing toward the cost of care despite have in the physical and financial ability to do so. There were no findings about the cost of care or the father’s ability to pay. No evidence on those issues were introduced at the hearing. The evidence does not support the finding.
Termination of Parental Rights
Failure to Pay Reasonable Cost of Care
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