Determining the Best Interests of the Child-Alabama


Citation: Ala. Code § 12-15-101

The purpose of this chapter is to facilitate the care, protection, and discipline of children who come within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court, while acknowledging the responsibility of the juvenile court to preserve the public peace and security. In furtherance of this purpose, the following goals have been established for the juvenile court:

  • To preserve and strengthen the child's family whenever possible, including improvement of home environment
  • To remove the child from the custody of his or her parents only when it is judicially determined to be in his or her best interests or for the safety and protection of the public
  • To reunite a child with his or her parents as quickly and as safely as possible when the child has been removed from the custody of his or her parents unless reunification is judicially determined not to be in the best interests of the child
  • To secure for any child removed from parental custody the necessary treatment, care, guidance, and discipline to assist him or her in becoming a responsible, productive member of society
  • To promote a continuum of services for children and their families from prevention to aftercare, considering wherever possible, prevention, diversion, and early intervention
  • To achieve the foregoing goals in the least restrictive setting necessary, with a preference at all times for the preservation of the family and the integration of parental accountability and participation in treatment and counseling programs

This chapter shall be liberally construed to the end that each child coming within the jurisdiction of the juvenile court shall receive the care, guidance, and control, preferably in his or her own home, necessary for the welfare of the child and the best interests of the State.