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Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights South Carolina

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Statute: 20-7-1572; 20-7-763(C),(F)

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination


Abandonment or Extreme Parental Disinterest

Abuse/Neglect

Mental Illness or Deficiency

Alcohol or Drug Induced Incapacity

Felony Conviction/Incarceration

Failure of Reasonable Efforts

Abuse/Neglect or Loss of Rights of Another Child

Failure to Maintain Contact

Failure to Provide Support

Child's Best Interest

Child in care 15 of 22 months (or less)

Felony assault of child or sibling

Murder/Manslaughter of sibling child

Circumstances That Are Not Grounds for Termination

Sexual Abuse

Failure to Establish Paternity

Child Judged in Need of Services/Dependent

Full Text of Statute

S.C. Code Ann. 20-7-1572 (WESTLAW through End of 2000 Reg. Sess.)


The family court may order the termination of parental rights upon a finding of one or more of the following grounds and a finding that termination is in the best interest of the child:

The child or another child in the home has been
harmed, and because of the severity or repetition
of the abuse or neglect, it is not reasonably
likely that the home can be made safe within 12
months. In determining the likelihood that the
home can be made safe, the parent's previous
abuse or neglect of the child or another child in
the home may be considered;

The child has been removed from the parent, has
been out of the home for a period of 6 months
following the adoption of a placement plan by
court order or by agreement between the
Department and the parent, and the parent has not
remedied the conditions which caused the removal;

The child has lived outside the home of either
parent for a period of 6 months, and during that
time the parent has willfully failed to visit the
child. The court may attach little or no weight
to incidental visitations, but it must be shown
that the parent was not prevented from visiting
by the party having custody or by court order.
The distance of the child's placement from the
parent's home must be taken into consideration
when determining the ability to visit;

The child has lived outside the home of either
parent for a period of 6 months, and during that
time the parent has willfully failed to support
the child. Failure to support means that the
parent has failed to make a material contribution
to the child's care. A material contribution
consists of either financial contributions
according to the parent's means or contributions
of food, clothing, shelter, or other necessities
for the care of the child according to the
parent's means. The court may consider all
relevant circumstances in determining whether or
not the parent has willfully failed to support
the child, including requests for support by the
custodian and the ability of the parent to
provide support;

The presumptive legal father is not the
biological father of the child, and the welfare
of the child can best be served by termination of
the parental rights of the presumptive legal
father;

The parent has a diagnosable condition unlikely
to change within a reasonable time, including,
but not limited to, alcohol or drug addiction,
mental deficiency, mental illness, or extreme
physical incapacity, and the condition makes the
parent unlikely to provide minimally acceptable
care of the child. It is presumed that the
parent's condition is unlikely to change within a
reasonable time upon proof that the parent has
been required by the Department or the family
court to participate in a treatment program for
alcohol or drug addiction, and the parent has
failed two or more times to complete the program
successfully or has refused at two or more
separate meetings with the Department to
participate in a treatment program;

The child has been abandoned;

The child has been in foster care under the
responsibility of the State for 15 of the most

recent 22 months; or

The physical abuse of a child of the parent
resulted in the death or admission to the
hospital for in-patient care of that child and
the abuse is the act for which the parent has
been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo
contendere to, committing, aiding, abetting,
conspiring to commit, or soliciting an offense
against the person, criminal domestic violence,
criminal domestic violence of a high and
aggravated nature, or the common law offense of
assault and battery of a high and aggravated
nature.

S.C. Code Ann. 20-7-763(C), (F) (WESTLAW through End of 2000 Reg. Sess.)

The family court may authorize the Department to terminate or forego reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify a family when the records of
a court of competent jurisdiction show, or when
the family court determines, that one or more of
the following conditions exist:

The parent has subjected the child to one or more
of the following aggravated circumstances: severe or repeated abuse; severe or repeated neglect; sexual abuse; acts that the judge may find constitute torture; or abandonment;

The parent has been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, murder of another child of
the parent, or an equivalent offense, in this
jurisdiction or another;

The parent has been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent, or an equivalent offense, in this jurisdiction or another;

The parent has been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, aiding, abetting, attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter, or an equivalent offense, in this jurisdiction or another;

Physical abuse of a child of the parent resulted in the death or admission to the hospital for in-patient care of that child and the abuse is the act for which the parent has been convicted of, or pled guilty or nolo contendere to, committing, aiding, abetting, conspiring to commit, or soliciting an offense against the person; criminal domestic violence; criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature; or the common law offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, or an equivalent offense in another jurisdiction;

The parental rights of the parent to a sibling of the child have been terminated involuntarily;
Other circumstances exist that the court finds make continuation or implementation of reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify the family inconsistent with the permanent plan for the child.

In determining whether to authorize the Department to terminate or forgo reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify a family, the court must consider whether initiation or continuation of reasonable efforts to preserve or reunify the family in is the best interests of the child.
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