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

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What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 13.34.025; 13.34.130

The Department of Children, Youth, and Families shall coordinate within the administrations of the department and with contracted service providers, including supervising agencies, to ensure that parents in dependency proceedings receive priority access to remedial services recommended by the department or supervising agency in its social study or ordered by the court for the purpose of correcting any parental deficiencies identified in the dependency proceeding that are capable of being corrected in the foreseeable future. Services also may be provided to caregivers other than the parents as identified in § 13.34.138.

For purposes of this chapter, remedial services are those services defined in the Federal Adoption and Safe Families Act as time-limited family reunification services. Remedial services include the following:

  • Individual, group, and family counseling
  • Substance abuse treatment services
  • Mental health services
  • Assistance to address domestic violence
  • Services designed to provide temporary child care and therapeutic services for families
  • Transportation to or from any of the above services and activities

Reasonable efforts include specific services, such as housing assistance, that are provided to the child and the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, and preventive services that are offered or provided to prevent the need for out-of-home placement.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Rev. Code §§ 13.34.110; 13.34.130

Reasonable efforts are required to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the child's home and to make it possible for the child to return home.

An order for out-of-home placement may be made only if the court finds that reasonable efforts have been made to prevent or eliminate the need for removal of the child from the child's home and to make it possible for the child to return home, specifying the services (including housing assistance) that have been provided to the child and the child's parent, guardian, or legal custodian, and that preventive services have been offered or provided to the child and the child's parent, guardian, or custodian, and the services have failed to prevent the need for out-of-home placement, unless the health, safety, and welfare of the child cannot be protected adequately in the home.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Rev. Code § 13.34.132

Reasonable efforts are not required when there are aggravated circumstances. In determining whether aggravated circumstances exist by clear, cogent, and convincing evidence, the court shall consider one or more of the following:

  • Conviction of the parent of rape, criminal mistreatment, or assault of the child
  • Conviction of the parent of murder, manslaughter, or homicide by abuse of the child's other parent, sibling, or another child
  • Conviction of the parent of attempting, soliciting, or conspiring to commit any of the above crimes
  • Conviction of the parent of trafficking or promoting commercial sexual abuse of a minor when the victim of the crime is the child, the child's other parent, a sibling of the child, or another child
  • A finding by a court that a parent is a sexually violent predator
  • Failure of the parent to complete a treatment plan where such failure has resulted in a prior termination of parental rights to another child and the parent has failed to effect significant change in the interim
  • Abandonment of an infant younger than age 3
  • Conviction of the parent of a sex offense or incest when the child is born of the offense