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In re AC

597 A.2d 920 (1991)

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In re AC

District of Columbia Court of Appeals

597 A.2d 920 (1991)

Facts

AC’s mother, PC (defendant), disappeared when AC was two months old. AC’s father, RR (defendant), voluntarily put AC in the custody of the District of Columbia Department of Human Services (DHS). Two months later, RR visited AC while AC was hospitalized briefly, but that was the last time RR had contact with AC. For years, the DHS tried and was not able to locate RR, and RR never contacted the DHS. The DHS finally located RR and set up a visit, but RR did not show up. At a hearing on neglect charges and the DHS’s continued custody of AC, RR told the DHS that he was unable to care for AC because he was unemployed. The DHS unsuccessfully continued to try to contact RR, checking with RR’s mother, shelters, hospitals, jails, and even the morgue. When AC was five years old, AC’s guardian ad litem (plaintiff) moved to terminate AC’s biological parents’ parental rights. At that point, AC had been living with the same foster family for four years, and a permanent, adoptive family had been arranged for him if his biological parents’ rights were terminated. RR was in jail and was transported from jail to the courthouse for an initial hearing. However, RR was later released from jail and did not attend the primary hearing on the termination motion. The trial court terminated PC’s and RR’s parental rights, and RR’s attorney appealed the ruling on RR’s behalf.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Wagner, J.)

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