Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Hawaii

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. §§ 571-61(b); 587A-4

The family courts may terminate the parental rights to a child of any legal parent to whom any of the following apply:

  • Has deserted the child without affording means of identification for a period of at least 90 days
  • Has voluntarily surrendered the care and custody of the child to another for a period of at least 2 years
  • When the child is in the custody of another, has failed to communicate with the child or provide care and support for the child when able to do so for a period of at least 1 year
  • Whose child has been removed from the parent's physical custody and who is found to be unable to provide now and in the foreseeable future the care necessary for the well-being of the child
  • Is found by the court to be mentally ill or intellectually disabled and incapacitated from giving consent to the adoption of the child or from providing now and in the foreseeable future the care necessary for the well-being of the child
  • Is found not to be the child's natural or adoptive father
  • Is found to be an unfit or improper parent or to be financially or otherwise unable to give the child a proper home and education
  • Has committed sexual assault of the other natural parent, and the child was conceived as a result

The court may also hold a permanency hearing to determine a placement for the child outside the parent's home when the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances. 'Aggravated circumstances' include any of the following:

  • The parent has murdered, or has solicited, aided, abetted, attempted, or conspired to commit the murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent.
  • The parent has committed a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent.
  • The parent's rights regarding a sibling of the child have been judicially terminated or divested.
  • The parent has tortured the child.
  • The child is an abandoned infant.
  • The parent has committed sexual abuse against another child of the parent.
  • The parent is required to register with a sex offender registry.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 571-61(b)

The provision to terminate the parental rights to a child conceived as a result of a sexual assault shall not apply if subsequent to the date of the sexual assault, the child's natural parent and custodial natural parent cohabitate and establish a mutual custodial environment for the child. The custodial natural parent may petition the court to reinstate the child's natural parent's parental rights that were terminated pursuant to this paragraph.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Citation: Rev. Stat. § 587A-34

The child, the child's guardian ad litem or attorney, or the department may file a motion to reinstate the terminated parental rights of the child's parents when the child has been in permanent custody for at least 12 months and the child is age 14 or older.

At a preliminary hearing on the motion, the court may order a trial home placement and a temporary reinstatement of parental rights upon finding that the following are true:

  • There has been a material change in circumstances.
  • A parent is willing to provide care for the child.
  • A parent is able to provide a safe family home or the home can be made safe with the assistance of services.
  • A trial home placement is in the child's best interests.

If the court issues a temporary order of reinstatement of parental rights, the following apply:

  • The child shall be conditionally placed in the physical care of the parent for no longer than 6 months.
  • The department shall develop a permanency plan for reunification and ensure that transition services are provided to the family, as appropriate.

At a final hearing on the motion, the court may issue a final order of reinstatement of parental rights if the trial home placement has been successful. In making its final decision, the court shall determine whether the following are true:

  • Reinstatement of parental rights is in the best interests of the child, taking into consideration the following:
    • Whether a parent has remedied the conditions that caused the termination of parental rights
    • The age and maturity of the child and the child's ability to express a preference
    • The likelihood of risk to the health, safety, or welfare of the child
  • The parent is able to provide the child with a safe family home.
  • Both the parent and child consent to the reinstatement of parental rights.
  • The permanency plan goals for the child have not been and are not likely to be achieved.