Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Oklahoma

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Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-4-904

The court may terminate the rights of a parent to a child based upon the following legal grounds:

  • The parent has abandoned the child.
  • The child is an abandoned infant.
  • The parent has voluntarily placed the child in out-of-home care, has not complied with the placement agreement, and has not demonstrated a firm intention to resume physical custody of the child or to make permanent legal arrangements for the care of the child.
  • The parent has failed to correct the condition that led to the deprived adjudication of the child, and the parent has been given at least 3 months to correct the condition.
  • The rights of the parent to another child have been terminated, and the conditions that led to the prior termination have not been corrected.
  • A parent who does not have custody of the child has, for at least 6 out of the 12 immediately preceding months, willfully failed or refused to contribute to the support of the child as specified by court order or according to the financial ability of the parent to pay.
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following acts:
    • Permitting a child to participate in pornography
    • Rape or lewd molestation of a child under age 16
    • Child abuse or neglect or enabling child abuse or neglect
    • Causing the death of a child or a sibling of the child as a result of the physical or sexual abuse or chronic abuse or neglect
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter of any child or aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder of any child
    • Felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parents
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter of the child's parent or aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder of the child's parent
  • The parent has abused or neglected the child or a sibling of the child or failed to protect the child or a sibling of the child from abuse or neglect that is heinous or shocking.
  • The parent has previously abused or neglected the child or a sibling of the child or failed to protect the child or a sibling of the child from abuse or neglect.
  • The child was conceived as a result of rape perpetrated by the parent whose rights are sought to be terminated.
  • The parent is incarcerated, and the continuation of parental rights would result in harm to the child based on consideration of the following factors, among others:
    • The duration of incarceration
    • The parent's history of criminal behavior, including crimes against children
    • The age of the child and the current relationship between the parent and the child
  • The parent has a diagnosed cognitive disorder, extreme physical incapacity, or a medical condition, including behavioral health, that renders the parent incapable of adequately and appropriately exercising parental duties and responsibilities within a reasonable time considering the age of the child.
  • The condition that led to the deprived adjudication has been the subject of a previous deprived adjudication of this child or a sibling of this child, and the parent has been given an opportunity to correct the conditions that led to the determination of the initial deprived child.
  • There exists a substantial erosion of the relationship between the parent and child caused at least in part by the parent's serious or aggravated neglect of the child, physical or sexual abuse or exploitation of the child, a prolonged and unreasonable absence of the parent from the child, or an unreasonable failure by the parent to visit or communicate in a meaningful way with the child.
  • The child age 4 or older has been placed in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, and the child cannot be safely returned to the home of the parent.
  • A child younger than age 4 has been placed in foster care for at least 6 of the previous 12 months, and the child cannot be safely returned to the home of the parent.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-4-904

The incarceration of a parent shall not in and of itself be sufficient to deprive a parent of parental rights.

A finding that a parent has a diagnosed cognitive disorder, extreme physical incapacity, or a medical condition, including behavioral health or substance dependency, shall not in and of itself deprive the parent of parental rights.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. Tit. 10A, § 1-4-909

A child may request the court to reinstate the previously terminated parental rights of his or her parent under the following circumstances:

  • The child was previously found to be a deprived child.
  • The parent's rights were terminated in a proceeding under title 10A.
  • At least 3 years have passed since the final order of termination of parental rights and any of the following apply:
    • The child has not achieved his or her permanency plan.
    • A permanency plan of adoption has failed.
    • A permanency plan of guardianship has failed.
  • The child is at least age 14 at the time the application is filed.

If, after a preliminary hearing to consider the parent's apparent fitness and interest in reinstatement of parental rights, the court finds by a preponderance of the evidence that the best interests of the child may be served by reinstatement of parental rights, the court shall order that a hearing on the merits of the motion be held.

The court shall conditionally grant the application if it finds by clear and convincing evidence that the child has not and is not likely to imminently achieve his or her permanency plan and that reinstatement of parental rights is in the child's best interests. In determining whether reinstatement is in the child's best interests, the court shall consider, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Whether the parent whose rights are to be reinstated is a fit parent and has remedied the conditions as provided in the record of the prior termination proceedings and prior termination order
  • The age and maturity of the child, and the ability of the child to express his or her preference
  • Whether the reinstatement of parental rights will present a risk to the health, safety, or welfare of the child
  • Other material changes in circumstances, if any, that may have occurred that warrant the granting of the application