Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Idaho

Date: July 2021

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-2005

The court may grant an order terminating parental rights when it finds that termination of parental rights is in the best interests of the child and that one or more of the following conditions exist:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The parent has neglected or abused the child.
  • The presumptive parent is not the biological parent of the child.
  • The parent is unable to discharge parental responsibilities and such inability will continue for a prolonged indeterminate period and will be injurious to the health, morals, or well-being of the child.
  • The parent has been incarcerated and is likely to remain incarcerated for a substantial period of time during the child's minority.
  • The parent caused the child to be conceived as a result of rape, incest, lewd conduct with a minor child younger than age 16, or sexual abuse of a child younger than age 16.
  • The following circumstances are present:
    • Abandonment, chronic abuse, or chronic neglect of the child
    • Sexual abuse against a child of the parent
    • Torture of a child; battery or an injury to a child that results in serious or great bodily injury to a child; or voluntary manslaughter of a child or aiding or abetting such voluntary manslaughter, soliciting such voluntary manslaughter, or attempting or conspiring to commit such voluntary manslaughter
  • The parent has committed murder, aided or abetted a murder, solicited a murder, or attempted or conspired to commit murder.
  • The court determines the child to be an abandoned infant, except in a parental termination action brought by one parent against another parent.

Chronic neglect or chronic abuse of a child shall consist of abuse or neglect that is so extreme or repetitious as to indicate that continuing the relationship would result in unacceptable risk to the health and welfare of the child.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Idaho Code §§ 16-2005; 16-1624

If the parent has a disability, the parent shall have a right to provide evidence to the court regarding the manner in which adaptive equipment or supportive services will enable the parent to carry out parenting responsibilities.

If the child has been placed in the legal custody of the Department of Health and Welfare or under its protective supervision, the department may petition the court for termination of the parent and child relationship in accordance with title 16, chapter 20. Unless there are compelling reasons it would not be in the best interests of the child, the department shall be required to file a petition to terminate parental rights within 30 days of a judicial determination that an infant has been abandoned or that reasonable efforts are not required because aggravated circumstances were present. The department shall join as a party to a petition filed by another party, as well as to concurrently identify, recruit, process, and approve a qualified family for adoption, unless it is determined that such actions would not be in the best interests of the child or the child is placed with a fit and willing relative.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.