2020 South Carolina Code of Laws
Title 63 - South Carolina Children's Code
Chapter 7 - Child Protection And Permanency
Section 63-7-2570. Grounds.
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:
(1) The child or another child while residing in the parent's domicile has been harmed as defined in Section 63-7-20, 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 twelve 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 may be considered.
(2) The child has been removed from the parent pursuant to subarticle 3 or Section 63-7-1660 and has been out of the home for a period of six 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.
(3) The child has lived outside the home of either parent for a period of six months, and during that time the parent has wilfully 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.
(4) The child has lived outside the home of either parent for a period of six months, and during that time the parent has wilfully 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 wilfully failed to support the child, including requests for support by the custodian and the ability of the parent to provide support.
(5) 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.
(6)(a) The following circumstances exist, subject to the requirements set forth in Section 63-21-20:
(i) the parent has a diagnosable condition unlikely to change within a reasonable time including, but not limited to, addiction to alcohol or illegal drugs or prescription medication abuse; and
(ii) the condition makes the parent unlikely to provide minimally acceptable care of the child.
(b) 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.
(c) The department, and any other covered entity, must not terminate the rights of a parent or legal guardian with a disability solely on the basis of the disability.
(7) The child has been abandoned as defined in Section 63-7-20.
(8) The child has been in foster care under the responsibility of the State for fifteen of the most recent twenty-two months.
(9) 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 as provided for in Chapter 3, Title 16, criminal domestic violence as defined in Section 16-25-20, criminal domestic violence of a high and aggravated nature as defined in Section 16-25-65, or an assault and battery offense as provided in Article 7, Chapter 3, Title 16.
(10) A parent of the child pleads guilty or nolo contendere to or is convicted of the murder of the child's other parent.
(11) Conception of a child as a result of the criminal sexual conduct of a biological parent, as found by a court of competent jurisdiction, is grounds for terminating the rights of that biological parent, unless the sentencing court makes specific findings on the record that the conviction resulted from consensual sexual conduct when neither the victim nor the actor were younger than fourteen years of age nor older than eighteen years of age at the time of the offense.
(12) The parent of the child pleads guilty or nolo contendere to or is convicted of murder, voluntary manslaughter, or homicide by child abuse, of another child of the parent.
HISTORY: 2008 Act No. 361, Section 2; 2010 Act No. 160, Sections 5, 6, 7, eff May 12, 2010; 2014 Act No. 281 (H.3102), Section 8, eff June 10, 2014; 2017 Act No. 36 (H.3538), Section 5, eff May 10, 2017.
2010 Act No. 273, Section 7.C, provides:
"Wherever in the 1976 Code of Laws reference is made to the common law offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature, it means assault and battery with intent to kill, as contained in repealed Section 16-3-620, and, except for references in Section 16-1-60 and Section 17-25-45, wherever in the 1976 Code reference is made to assault and battery with intent to kill, it means attempted murder as defined in Section 16-3-29."
Effect of Amendment
The 2010 amendment in subsection (1) substituted "while residing in the parent's domicile" for "in the home" in the first sentence, and deleted "in the home" preceding "may be considered" at the end of the second sentence; in subsection (6) added "unable or" following "and the condition makes the parent" in the first sentence; and in subsection (9) deleted "of the parent" following "The physical abuse of a child" at the beginning.
2014 Act No. 281, Section 8, in paragraph (2), inserted "and" following "63-7-1660"; in paragraph (6), substituted "addiction to alcohol or illegal drugs, prescription medication abuse, mental deficiency, mental illness, or extreme physical incapacity, and the condition makes the parent unlikely" for "alcohol or drug addiction, mental deficiency, mental illness, or extreme physical incapacity, and the condition makes the parent unable or unlikely"; in paragraph (9), inserted "of the parent" after "physical abuse of a child", and substituted "an assault and battery offense as provided in Article 7, Chapter 3, Title 16" for "the common law offense of assault and battery of a high and aggravated nature"; and made other nonsubstantive changes.
2017 Act No. 36, Section 5, rewrote (6), prohibiting the termination of parental rights solely on the basis of a disability.