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

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What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-21-105(gg)

'Reasonable efforts' means the exercise of reasonable care and due diligence by the Department of Human Services, the Department of Child Protection Services, or any other appropriate entity or person to use appropriate and available services to prevent the unnecessary removal of the child from the home or provide other services related to meeting the needs of the child and the parents.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-21-609(g)-(h)

If the child has not been taken into care previously, the court shall determine the following:

  • Reasonable efforts have been made to maintain the child within his or her own home but that the circumstances warrant his or her removal, and there is no reasonable alternative to custody.
  • The circumstances are of such an urgent nature that no reasonable efforts have been made to maintain the child within his or her own home, and there is no reasonable alternative to custody.

If the court finds that the child should be taken into care, the court shall order that reasonable efforts be made toward the reunification of the child with his or her family.

If the child has been taken into care before the disposition hearing, the court shall determine whether reasonable efforts were made by the Department of Child Protection Services to finalize the child's permanency plan that was in effect on the date of the disposition hearing.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 43-21-603(7)

Reasonable efforts to maintain the child within his or her home shall not be required if the court determines that any of the following are true:

  • The parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances, including, but not limited to, abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, and sexual abuse.
  • The parent has been convicted of murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of that parent; aiding, abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit that murder or voluntary manslaughter; or a felony assault that results in the serious bodily injury to the surviving child or another child of that parent.
  • The parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been terminated involuntarily.
  • Continuation of the child's residence within his or her own home would be contrary to the welfare of the child, and placement of the child in foster care is in the best interests of the child.