Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Alaska

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Alaska Stat. §§ 47.10.011; 47.10.080; 47.10.086; 47.10.088

The parent's parental rights may be terminated if the court finds the following by clear and convincing evidence:

  • The child has been subjected to conduct or conditions described below.
  • The parent has not remedied the conduct or conditions in the home that place the child at substantial risk of harm.
  • The Department of Health and Social Services has complied with requirements concerning reasonable efforts.

Any of the following may be grounds for termination:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • A parent is incarcerated, and the court finds, based on clear and convincing evidence, the following:
    • The period of incarceration that the parent is scheduled to serve during the child's minority is significant, considering the child's age and the child's need for an adult's care and supervision.
    • There is not another parent willing and able to care for the child.
    • The incarcerated parent has failed to make adequate provisions for care of the child during the period of incarceration that will be during the child's minority.
  • The parent has subjected the child to circumstances that pose a substantial risk of harm, including, but not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic mental injury, chronic physical harm, or sexual abuse.
  • A custodian with whom the child has been left is unwilling or unable to provide care, supervision, or support for the child, and the whereabouts of the parent or guardian is unknown.
  • The child has suffered substantial physical harm or there is a substantial risk that the child will suffer substantial physical harm as a result of conduct by or conditions created by the child's parent or by the failure of the parent to supervise the child adequately.
  • Conduct by or conditions created by the parent have resulted in mental injury to the child or placed the child at substantial risk of mental injury as a result of any of the following:
    • A pattern of rejecting, terrorizing, ignoring, isolating, or corrupting behavior that would, if continued, result in mental injury
    • Exposure to conduct by a household member against another household member that is a crime against the person, including homicide, assault, or sexual assault
    • Repeated exposure to conduct by a household member against another household member that is a crime against the person, including assault, reckless endangerment, or stalking
  • The child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, and reasonable efforts to rehabilitate the parent have failed.
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following:
    • Homicide of a parent of the child or a child
    • Aiding, abetting, attempting, or soliciting to commit a homicide of a parent of the child or a child
    • A felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to a child
  • The parent has sexually abused the child or another child of the parent or is registered or required to register as a sex offender or child kidnapper.
  • The child has been sexually abused as a result of the parent's conduct or failure to protect the child.
  • The parent has willfully failed to provide the child with needed medical treatment.
  • The parent is unable to discharge his or her parental duties due to any of the following:
    • Emotional illness, mental illness, or mental deficiency
    • Use of alcohol or controlled substances
  • The child has committed an illegal act as a result of pressure, guidance, or approval from the parent.
  • Parental rights to another child of the parent have been involuntarily terminated and conditions that led to the termination have not been corrected.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.10.088

The department shall file a petition for termination of parental rights when the child has been in foster care for at least 15 of the most recent 22 months, unless either of the following apply:

  • The department has documented compelling reasons why termination of parental rights would not be in the best interests of the child. This may include the child being cared for by a relative.
  • The department is required to make reasonable efforts according to the case plan and has not provided to the parent the family support services that the department has determined are necessary for the safe return of the child to the home.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Citation: Alaska Stat. § 47.10.089

After a termination order is entered and before the entry of an adoption or legal guardianship decree, a person who voluntarily relinquished parental rights to a child under this section may request a review hearing, upon a showing of good cause, to vacate the termination order and reinstate parental rights relating to that child. A court shall vacate a termination order if the person shows, by clear and convincing evidence, that reinstatement of parental rights is in the best interests of the child and that the person is rehabilitated and capable of providing the care and guidance that will serve the moral, emotional, mental, and physical welfare of the child.