Reasonable Efforts to Preserve or Reunify Families and Achieve Permanency for Children - Massachusetts

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What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 119, § 29C

The court shall determine the reasonable efforts to be made that are consistent with the best interests of the child.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 119, § 29C

Reasonable efforts shall be made as follows:

  • Prior to placement to prevent or eliminate the need for removal from the home
  • To make it possible for a child to return safely to his or her parent or guardian
  • To place the child, in a timely manner, in accordance with the permanency plan if reasonable efforts to reunify the child with his or her parent or guardian are inconsistent with the permanency plan

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Laws Ch. 119, § 29C

Reasonable efforts shall not be required if the court finds that any of the following are true:

  • The child has been abandoned.
  • The parent's rights to another child have been involuntarily terminated.
  • The parent has been convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent or aiding or abetting in the commission of such crime.
  • The parent has been convicted of a felony assault resulting in serious bodily injury of the child or another child of the parent.
  • The parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances that may include murder of another parent of the child in the presence of the child, subjecting the child or other children in the home to sexual abuse or exploitation, or severe or repetitive conduct of a physically or emotionally abusive nature.