Archive for the ‘Department of Social Services/Child Abuse and Neglect’ Category

Court of Appeals vacates removal and TPR orders due to lack of subject matter jurisdiction

In the October 10, 2016 opinion in SCDSS v. Ngoc Tran, the South Carolina Court of Appeals vacated the family court’s removal order and termination of parental rights order, finding that DSS had failed to establish subject matter jurisdiction under the UCCJEA. Initially I thought the Court of Appeals was correct–even stating the same to […]

It just became a little easier (although still not very easy) to sue DSS in tort

There is a common complaint among attorneys who do appeals that they do not recognize the fact pattern described in their appellate decisions. The belief is that appellate courts sometimes start with the result they want to establish and then highlight facts that would justify that result and ignore or downplay facts that might lead […]

South Carolina Supreme Court holds child abuse examiners are not to be used as expert witnesses

In a criminal appeal that has implications for family law attorneys who defend abuse and neglect proceedings, on August 5, 2015, in the case of State v. Anderson, 413 S.C. 212, 776 S.E.2d 76 (2015), the South Carolina Supreme Court reversed a criminal sexual conduct with a minor conviction because the trial court allowed the forensic […]

Court of Appeals requires DSS to offer mother more treatment

The August 3, 2015 Court of Appeals opinion in SCDSS v. Briggs 413 S.C. 377, 776 S.E.2d 115 (Ct. App. 2015), reverses a family court determination that the South Carolina Department of Social Services (DSS) did not have to offer Mother further services and creating a permanency plan of termination of parental rights (TPR) or relative […]

Two recent unpublished termination of parental rights opinions that should have been published

Within the past week the South Carolina Court of Appeals has issued two unpublished opinions reversing two family court decisions to terminate a parent’s parental rights on the basis that the Department of Social Services (DSS) failed to meet its burden of proof. Both cases successfully challenged the statutory ground for termination.  In one of […]

Court of Appeals highly critical of Charleston County’s Abuse and Neglect proceedings’ procedures

The September 3, 2014 Court of Appeals decision in SCDSS v.  Hogan, 410 S.C. 120, 763 S.E.2d 219 (Ct. App. 2014), is highly critical of the method our county uses to handle abuse and neglect proceedings. It reversed the family court’s determinations that it no longer had jurisdiction to order return of the parents’ children or over […]

Adult protective services opinion has implications for abuse and neglect cases

The April 30, 2014 South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in the case of In the Interest of Jane Doe, 407 S.C. 623, 757 S.E.2d 711 (2014), provides a rare interpretation of South Carolina’s adult protective services statute and may have implications for South Carolina’s child abuse and neglect statutes. Because the probate court handles the appointment of […]

Supreme Court reverses sexual abuse finding based on improperly admitted forensic child interviews

A split decision in the September 25, 2013 South Carolina Supreme Court opinion in SCDSS v. Pringle, 405 S.C. 608, 749 S.E.2d 301 (2013), reserved a finding that father sexually abused his two daughters, holding the family court erred in permitting the playing of videotape forensic interviews of the non-testifying child victims. Father’s two daughters were interviewed by […]