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

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What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ala. Code § 12-15-301(13)

'Reasoanable efforts' are efforts made to preserve and reunify families prior to the placement of a child in foster care, to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from his or her home, and to make it possible for a child to return safely to his or her home. 'Reasonable efforts' also refers to efforts made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanency placement of the child.

In determining the reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a child, and in making these reasonable efforts, the health and safety of the child shall be the paramount concern.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ala. Code § 12-15-312(b)

As used in this chapter, reasonable efforts refers to efforts made to preserve and reunify families prior to the placement of a child in foster care, to prevent or eliminate the need for removing the child from his or her home, and to make it possible for a child to return safely to his or her home. In determining the reasonable efforts to be made with respect to a child, and in making these reasonable efforts, the health and safety of the child shall be the paramount concern. If continuation of reasonable efforts is determined to be inconsistent with the permanency plan for the child, reasonable efforts shall be made to place the child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan including, if appropriate, through an interstate placement, and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize a permanent plan for the child.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ala. Code § 12-15-312(c)

Reasonable efforts shall not be required to be made if the parental rights of the parent to a sibling have been involuntarily terminated or the parent has done any of the following:

  • Subjected the child or a sibling to an aggravated circumstance that made the risk of abuse or neglect too high for the child to remain at home or return home. An aggravated circumstance includes, but is not limited to, aggravated stalking, abandonment, torture, or chronic abuse. An aggravated circumstance also may include any of the following:
    • A child is allowed to use alcohol or illegal drugs to the point of abuse, neglect, or substantial risk of harm.
    • Substance misuse or abuse, or both, by a parent interferes with the ability to keep the child safe, and the parent refuses to participate in or complete treatment or treatment has been unsuccessful.
    • A parent demonstrates extreme disinterest in the child by either not complying with a case plan for more than 6 months or repeatedly leaving the child with someone who is unwilling or incapable of providing care, and the parent does not return for the child as promised.
    • An infant or young child has been abandoned, the identity of the child is unknown, and the parent is unknown or unable to be located after a diligent search.
    • The parent has an emotional or mental condition, and there is clearly no treatment that can improve or strengthen the condition enough to allow the child to remain at home safely or to return home safely.
    • The parent is incarcerated, and the child is deprived of a safe, stable, and permanent parent-child relationship.
  • Committed murder or manslaughter of another child or the child's other parent
  • Been convicted of first-degree rape, first-degree sodomy, or incest
  • Aided, abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit murder or manslaughter of another child or the child's other parent
  • Committed a felony assault that resulted in serious bodily injury to the child, another child, or the child's other parent