Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Mississippi

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code § 93-15-121

Any of the following, if established by clear and convincing evidence, may be grounds for termination of the parent's parental rights if reunification between the parent and child are not desirable toward obtaining a satisfactory permanency outcome:

  • The parent has been medically diagnosed by a qualified mental health professional with a severe mental illness or deficiency that is unlikely to change in a reasonable period of time and which, based upon expert testimony or an established pattern of behavior, makes the parent unable or unwilling to provide an adequate permanent home for the child.
  • The parent has been medically diagnosed by a qualified health professional with an extreme physical incapacitation that is unlikely to change in a reasonable period of time and which, based upon expert testimony or an established pattern of behavior, prevents the parent, despite reasonable accommodations, from providing minimally acceptable care for the child.
  • The parent is suffering from habitual alcoholism or other drug addiction and has failed to successfully complete alcohol or drug treatment.
  • The parent is unwilling to provide reasonably necessary food, clothing, shelter, or medical care for the child. Reasonably necessary medical care does not include recommended or optional vaccinations against childhood or any other disease.
  • The parent has failed to exercise reasonable visitation or communication with the child.
  • The parent's abusive or neglectful conduct has caused, at least in part, an extreme and deep-seated antipathy by the child toward the parent, or some other substantial erosion of the relationship between the parent and the child.
  • The parent has committed an abusive act for which reasonable efforts to maintain the children in the home would not be required under § 43-21-603, or a series of physically, mentally, or emotionally abusive incidents, against the child or another child, whether related by consanguinity or affinity or not, making future contacts between the parent and child undesirable.
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following offenses against any child:
    • Rape or sexual battery of a child
    • Touching a child for lustful purposes
    • Exploitation of a child
    • Felonious abuse or battery of a child
    • Carnal knowledge of a stepchild, adopted child, or a child of a cohabitating partner
    • Human trafficking of a child
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following:
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
    • Aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child or another child of the parent
    • A felony assault that results in the serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Code Ann. §§ 43-15-13; 93-15-123

For any child who has been in foster care for 15 of the last 22 months, regardless of whether the foster care was continuous for all those 22 months, the department shall file a petition to terminate the parental rights of the child's parents. The time period starts to run from the date the court makes a finding of abuse and/or neglect, commercial sexual exploitation, or human trafficking, or 60 days from when the child was removed from his or her home, whichever is earlier. The department can choose not to file a termination of parental rights petition if the following apply:

  • The child is being cared for by a relative.
  • The department has documented compelling and extraordinary reasons why termination of parental rights would not be in the best interests of the child.

Notwithstanding any other provision of this chapter, the court may exercise its discretion not to terminate the parent's parental rights if the child's safety and welfare will not be compromised or endangered and terminating the parent's parental right is not in the child's best interests based on one or more of the following factors:

  • The Department of Child Protection Services has documented compelling and extraordinary reasons why terminating the parent's parental rights would not be in the child's best interests.
  • There is a likelihood that continuing reasonable efforts for achieving reunification will be successful.
  • Terminating the parent's parental rights would inappropriately relieve the parent of the parent's financial or support obligations to the child.
  • The child is being cared for by the other parent, or a relative, guardian, or custodian, in a residence not occupied by the abusive or neglectful parent and terminating the parent's parental rights would not expedite the process for obtaining a satisfactory permanency outcome.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.