Grounds for Involuntary Termination of Parental Rights - Wyoming

Date: July 2021

Circumstances That Are Grounds for Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-2-309

The parent-child legal relationship may be terminated if any one or more of the following facts is established by clear and convincing evidence:

  • The child has been left in the care of another person without provision for the child's support and without communication from the absent parent for a period of at least 1 year.
  • The child has been abandoned with no means of identification for at least 3 months, and efforts to locate the parent have been unsuccessful.
  • The child has been abused or neglected by the parent, and reasonable efforts have been unsuccessful in rehabilitating the family or the family has refused rehabilitative treatment, and the child's health and safety would be seriously jeopardized by remaining with or returning to the parent.
  • The parent is incarcerated due to the conviction of a felony, and the parent is found unfit to have the custody and control of the child.
  • The child has been in foster care for 15 of the most recent 22 months, and the parent is unfit to have custody and control of the child.
  • The child was abandoned at less than age 1 and has been abandoned for at least 6 months.
  • The child was relinquished to a safe-haven provider, and neither parent has affirmatively sought the return of the child within 3 months from the date of relinquishment.
  • The parent was convicted of murder or homicide of the other parent of the child.
  • The parent committed sexual assault and the child was conceived as a result of the sexual assault.
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following crimes:
    • Murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent or aiding and abetting, attempting, conspiring to commit, or soliciting such a crime
    • A felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to a child of the parent
  • The parental rights of the parent to any other child have been terminated involuntarily.
  • The parent abandoned, chronically abused, tortured, or sexually abused the child.
  • The parent has been convicted of committing one or more of the following crimes against the child or another child of that parent:
    • Sexual assault or sexual battery
    • Sexual abuse of a minor
  • The parent is required to register as a sex offender if the offense involved the child or another child of that parent.
  • Other aggravating circumstances exist indicating that there is little likelihood that services to the family will result in successful reunification.

Circumstances That Are Exceptions to Termination of Parental Rights

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 14-3-431

When a child has been placed in foster care under the responsibility of the State for 15 of the most recent 22 months, the State shall file a petition to terminate parental rights unless the following apply:

  • The child is in the care of a relative.
  • The State agency has documented in the case plan a compelling reason for determining that filing the petition is not in the best interests of the child.
  • The State agency has not provided services to the child's family deemed necessary for the safe return of the child to the home if reasonable efforts are required to be made.

Circumstances Allowing Reinstatement of Parental Rights

This issue is not addressed in the statutes reviewed.