Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Louisiana

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1015

The grounds for termination of parental rights include the following:

  • Conviction of murder of the child's other parent
  • Unjustified intentional killing of the child's other parent
  • Misconduct of the parent toward the child, another child of the parent, or any child that constitutes extreme abuse, cruel and inhuman treatment, or grossly negligent behavior below a reasonable standard of human decency, including conviction, commission, aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit any of the following:
    • Murder or unjustified intentional killing
    • Aggravated crime against nature
    • Rape, sodomy, or sexual abuse
    • Torture or starvation
    • A felony that has resulted in serious bodily injury
    • Abuse or neglect that is chronic, life threatening, or results in gravely disabling physical or psychological injury or disfigurement
  • Abuse or neglect after the child is returned to the parent's care when the child had previously been removed for his or her safety
  • Previous termination of the parent's parental rights to one or more of the child's siblings due to neglect or abuse coupled with unsuccessful attempts to rehabilitate the parent
  • Sexual exploitation or abuse
  • Human trafficking when sentenced pursuant to Rev. Stat. § 14:46.2(B)(2) or (3)
  • Abandonment of the child by placing him in the physical custody of a nonparent or the department or by otherwise leaving the child under circumstances demonstrating an intention to permanently avoid parental responsibility by any of the following:
    • For a period of at least 4 months, despite a diligent search, the whereabouts of the child's parent continue to be unknown.
    • As of the time the petition is filed, the parent has failed to provide significant contributions to the child's care and support for any period of 6 consecutive months.
    • As of the time the petition is filed, the parent has failed to maintain significant contact with the child by visiting him or her or communicating with him or her for any period of 6 consecutive months.
  • Failure of the parent to substantially comply with a case plan for 1 year or more and no reasonable expectation of significant improvement in the parent's condition or conduct in the near future
  • Incarceration of the parent for an extended period of time, and despite notice by the department, the parent has refused or failed to provide a reasonable plan for the appropriate care of the child other than foster care
  • The identity of the father of a child in the custody of the Department of Children and Family Services for at least 1 year remains unknown and all the following have occurred:
    • In the course of investigating the case and providing services to the family, the department has been unable to learn the identity of the father.
    • No party to the proceedings or the mother, if not a party, is able to provide a first and last name of a putative father or alias sufficient to provide a reasonable possibility of identification and location.
    • The department has obtained all the following:
      • A certified copy of the child's birth certificate with no one indicated thereon as the father of the child, or the father listed has been determined not to be the biological father of the child.
      • A recent certificate from the putative father registry indicates that no person is listed or registered as the child's father.
      • A recent certificate from the clerk of court in the parish in which the child was born indicates that no acknowledgment with respect to this child has been recorded.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1004.1

The department shall file and pursue to judgment in the trial court a petition to terminate the parental rights of the parent or parents if the child has been in State custody for 17 of the last 22 months unless the department has documented in the case plan a compelling reason why filing is not in the best interests of the child.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Citation: Children's Code Art. 1051; 1052; 1053

If a child is in foster care and older than age 15, the child's counsel or the department may file a motion to restore the parental rights or parental contact with a parent whose rights have been terminated.

The department shall make a diligent effort to locate a parent whose rights may be restored and notify him or her of the effects of the restoration, including the obligation to pay child support. Within 45 days after the date the motion is filed, the department shall submit a confidential report to the court that shall include the following:

  • Changes in the parent's circumstances
  • Reasons why parental rights were terminated
  • The willingness of the parent to resume contact with the child and to have parental rights restored
  • The willingness of the child to resume contact with the parent and to have parental rights restored
  • The ability and willingness of the parent to be involved in the life of the child and to accept the physical custody of the child
  • Other relevant information

At the hearing, the court may, in the best interests of the child, order one of the following:

  • Allow contact between the parent and child, and if so, under what conditions
  • Restore the parental rights of the parent
  • Place the child in the custody of the parent with or without continuing supervision of the department

If the department, counsel for the child, court-appointed special advocate volunteer, and the parent stipulate that restoration of parental rights or parental contact is in the best interests of the child, the court may, after reviewing the report of the department, enter a judgment to that effect without a hearing.

The restoration of parental rights and placement of the child in the custody of the parent without supervision by the department is considered a permanent placement. Any other disposition by the court shall be made part of the case plan.