In re K.D.C., 375 N.C. 784 (2020)

  • Facts: The juveniles were adjudicated neglected in an underlying action due to circumstances created by father and mother’s incarceration. Mother was ordered to comply with a case plan. Mother was incarcerated throughout the neglect proceeding. Ultimately, DSS filed a TPR petition alleging the grounds of neglect, failure to make reasonable progress, and dependency. The TPR was granted, and mother appeals the grounds.
  • The second prong of dependency – lack of an appropriate alternative child care arrangement – was not alleged in the petition nor found by the trial court. A trial court’s failure to make both findings of dependency (defined in G.S. 7B-101(9)) will result in reversal. Even though it was undisputed that mother lacked an alternative child care arrangement (as argued by DSS and the child’s GAL), there was no evidence at the TPR hearing addressing an appropriate alternative child care arrangement. With a lack of evidence and finding about this prong, the dependency ground was not established.
Termination of Parental Rights
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