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

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What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Ann. Code § 15-11-2

'Reasonable efforts' means due diligence and the provision of appropriate services.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Ann. Code §§ 15-11-202; 15-11-203

Except as provided below, reasonable efforts shall be made to preserve or reunify families as follows:

  • Prior to the placement of an alleged dependent child in the custody of the Division of Family and Children Services (DFCS) to prevent the need for removing the child from his or her home
  • To eliminate the need for removal and make it possible for a child alleged to be or adjudicated as a dependent child to return safely to his or her home at the earliest possible time

In determining the type of reasonable efforts to be made to a child alleged to be or adjudicated as a dependent child and in making such reasonable efforts, such child's health and safety shall be the paramount concern.

If the court determines that reasonable efforts to reunify a child with his or her parents have been made, or DFCS has submitted a written report to the court that does not contain a plan for reunification services, then reasonable efforts shall be made to place a child in a timely manner in accordance with the permanency plan and to complete whatever steps are necessary to finalize the permanent placement of such child.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Code § 15-11-203

The court may direct that reasonable efforts to eliminate the need for placement of an alleged dependent child shall not be required or shall cease if the court determines that the parent has done any of the following:

  • Has subjected his or her child to aggravated circumstances, as defined in § 15-11-2(5)
  • Has been convicted of the murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
  • Has been convicted of aiding or abetting, attempting, conspiring, or soliciting to commit murder or voluntary manslaughter of another child of the parent
  • Has been convicted of committing a felony assault that results in serious bodily injury to the child or another child of the parent
  • Has been convicted of rape, sodomy, aggravated sodomy, child molestation, aggravated child molestation, incest, sexual battery, or aggravated sexual battery of the alleged dependent child or another child of the parent
  • Is required to register as a sex offender and that preservation of a parent-child relationship is not in the child's best interests
  • Has had his or her rights to a sibling of the child terminated involuntarily and the circumstances leading to the termination of parental rights to that sibling have not been resolved