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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 29, § 9003

The Division of Family Services will provide family preservation services.

The division must prepare and maintain a written case plan for each child under its supervision or custody that shall include, but not be limited to, a description of the child's problems, the care and treatment of the child, and any other services to be provided to the child and the child's family.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 29, § 9003

The division will provide family preservation services to those families whose children are at imminent risk of out-of-home placement when it is determined that out-of-home placement can be avoided. However, the division's highest priority in cases of abuse and neglect where an investigation is required shall be the health and safety of the child, and nothing herein will prevent the division from removing a child from the child's home when it has been determined that the child's safety and well-being may be jeopardized by remaining in the family home.

Each case plan must be designed to achieve any placement of the child outside of the child's home in the least restrictive setting available and in close proximity to the child's home, consistent with the best interests and special needs of the child.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Code Tit. 13, § 1103

The division is not required to perform, but is not prohibited from performing, reunification and related services, as outlined in title 29, § 9003, when the grounds for termination of parental rights are those stated below:

  • The child has been abandoned.
  • The parent has been found by a court of competent jurisdiction to have done any of the following:
    • Committed a felony-level offense against a child
    • Aided or abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited to commit an offense listed above
    • Committed or attempted to commit the offense of Dealing in Children
    • Committed the felony-level offense of endangering the welfare of a child
  • The parent's parental rights over a sibling of the child have been involuntarily terminated in a prior proceeding.
  • The parent has subjected the child to torture, chronic abuse, sexual abuse, and/or life-threatening abuse.
  • A child has suffered unexplained serious physical injury, death, or near death under circumstances that would indicate that the injuries resulted from the intentional or reckless conduct or willful neglect of the parent.