Determining the Best Interests of the Child - Virgin Islands
Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 5, § 2501(e)
When children or their families request help, Federal and territorial government resources shall be utilized to complement community efforts to help meet the needs of children by aiding in the prevention and resolution of their problems. The territory shall direct its efforts first to strengthen and encourage family life as the most appropriate environment for the care and nurturing of children. To this end, the territory shall assist and encourage families to utilize all available resources. For children in need of services, care, and guidance, the territory shall attempt to secure those services needed to serve the emotional, mental, and physical welfare of children and the best interests of the community, preferably in their homes or in the least restrictive environment possible.
When children must be placed in care away from their homes, the territory shall attempt to ensure that they are protected against harmful effects resulting from the temporary or permanent inability of parents to provide care and protection of their children. It is the policy of this territory to reunite children with their families in a timely manner, whether or not the child has been voluntarily placed in the care of a department. When children must be permanently removed from their homes, they shall, if practicable, be placed in adoptive homes so that they may become members of a family by legal adoption or, absent that possibility, they shall be placed in other permanent settings.