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

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What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6373; Tit. 42, § 6351

Reasonable efforts include the following:

  • Efforts to assist the child and the child's parent
  • Preventive services

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 23, § 6373; Tit. 42, § 6351

Reasonable efforts must be made to do the following:

  • To prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the home
  • To make it possible for the child to return home
  • To finalize the permanency plan in effect
  • To place siblings together unless a joint placement is contrary to the safety or well-being of the child or sibling

If a sibling of a child has been removed from his home and is in a different placement setting than the child, the court shall enter an order that ensures visitation between the child and the child's sibling no less than twice a month, unless a finding is made that visitation is contrary to the safety or well-being of the child or sibling.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Cons. Stat. Tit. 42, §§ 6351; 6302

Reasonable efforts are not required if the court has determined that aggravated circumstances exist and no new or additional efforts are required. Aggravated circumstances include any of the following:

  • The child is in the custody of a county agency, the identity or location of the parents is unknown, and the parent does not claim the child within 3 months or has failed to maintain contact for a period of 6 months.
  • The child or another child of the parent has been the victim of serious physical abuse, sexual violence, or aggravated physical neglect by the parent.
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following crimes in which the victim was a child: criminal homicide, aggravated assault, rape, statutory sexual assault, indecent assault, or the attempt to commit any such crime.
  • The parent's parental rights to another child have been terminated involuntarily.
  • The parent of the child is required to register as a sexual offender under chapter 97, subchapter H (relating to registration of sexual offenders) or to register with a sexual offender registry in another jurisdiction or foreign country.