Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Indiana

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 31-34-21-5.6; 31-35-2-4.5

A court may find that reasonable efforts to reunify a child with his or her parent are not required when the following apply:

  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following offenses:
    • A sex offense, as described in § 31-35-3-4(1)(E) through (1)(J) (rape, child molesting, child exploitation, sexual misconduct with a minor, or incest), against the child or a parent of the child
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child or a parent of the child
    • Aiding, inducing, causing another person, attempting, or conspiring with another person to commit murder or manslaughter
    • Felony battery, aggravated battery, criminal recklessness, or neglect of a dependent against a child
    • Felony promotion of human labor trafficking, promotion of human sexual trafficking, promotion of child sexual trafficking, promotion of sexual trafficking of a younger child, child sexual trafficking, or human trafficking
  • The parental rights of a parent with respect to a birth or adoptive sibling of the child have been involuntarily terminated.
  • The child is an abandoned infant.

A petition for termination of parental rights shall be filed if a court has made a finding under § 31-34-21-5.6 that reasonable efforts for family preservation or reunification with respect to a child in need of services are not required.

A petition also may be filed when any of the following applies to a child in need of services or a delinquent child:

  • Has been placed in a foster family home, child-caring institution, licensed group home, or the home of a person related to the child
  • Has been removed from a parent and has been under the supervision of the Department of Child Services or county Probation Department for not less than 15 of the most recent 22 months, beginning with the date the child is removed from the home as a result of the child being alleged to be a child in need of services or a delinquent child.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code § 31-35-2-4.5

A petition to terminate parental rights may be dismissed if any of the following apply:

  • The current case plan has documented a compelling reason that termination of the parent-child relationship is not in the best interests of the child. A compelling reason may include the fact that the child is being cared for by a relative.
  • The Department of Child Services has not provided family services to the child, parent, or family of the child in accordance with the case plan, and the period for completion of the program of family services has not expired.
  • The department has not provided family services to the child, parent, or family of the child in accordance with the case plan, and the services that the department has not provided are substantial and material in relation to implementation of a plan to permit safe return of the child to the child's home.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.