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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1621(1), (3)

The Department of Health and Welfare shall prepare a written case plan in every case in which the child is determined to be within the jurisdiction of the court, including cases in which the parent(s) is incarcerated.

If the child is placed in the legal custody of the department, the case plan shall set forth reasonable efforts that will be made to make it possible for the child to return home. The case plan also shall address the following:

  • Identify the services to be provided to the child, including services to identify and meet any special educational, emotional, physical, or developmental needs the child may have; to assist the child in adjusting to the placement; or to ensure the stability of the placement
  • Address options for maintaining the child's connection to the community, including individuals with a significant relationship to the child and organizations or community activities with which the child has a significant connection
  • Include a goal of reunification and a plan for achieving that goal

The reunification plan shall identify all issues that need to be addressed before the child can safely be returned home without department supervision. The reunification plan shall specifically identify the tasks to be completed by the department, each parent, or others to address each issue, including services to be made available by the department to the parents and in which the parents are required to participate and deadlines for completion of each task. The case plan shall state with specificity the role of the department toward each parent. When appropriate, the reunification plan should identify terms for visitation, supervision of visitation, and child support.

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Idaho Code § 16-1619(6)

If the court vests legal custody in the department or other authorized agency, the court shall make detailed written findings based on facts in the record as to whether the department made reasonable efforts to prevent the placement of the child in foster care, including findings, when appropriate, with regard to the following:

  • Reasonable efforts were made but were not successful in eliminating the need for foster care placement of the child.
  • The department made reasonable efforts to prevent removal but was not able to safely provide preventive services.
  • Reasonable efforts to temporarily place the child with related persons were made but were not successful.
  • Reasonable efforts were not required as the parent had subjected the child to aggravated circumstances.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Idaho Code §§ 16-1619(6)(d); 16-1602(6)

Reasonable efforts are not required if the parent has subjected the child to aggravated circumstances as determined by the court. 'Aggravated circumstances' includes but are not limited to, the following:

  • Circumstances in which the parent has engaged in any of the following:
    • Abandonment, chronic abuse, or chronic neglect of the child
      • Chronic neglect or chronic abuse of a child shall consist of abuse or neglect that is so extreme or repetitious as to indicate that return of the child to the home would result in unacceptable risk to the health and welfare of the child.
    • Sexual abuse against a child of the parent, which includes any conduct described in §§ 18-1506, 18-1506A, 18-1507, 18-1508, 18-1508A, 18-6101, 18-6608, or 18-8602
    • Torture of a child; any conduct listed in § 18-8303(1) (including ritualized abuse of a child, lewd conduct, murder committed in the perpetration of rape, kidnapping committed for the purpose of rape, committing an infamous crime against nature, committing any lewd and lascivious act upon any child under age 16 for purposes of sexual gratification or arousal, rape, forcible sexual penetration by use of a foreign object, or sex trafficking); battery or an injury to a child that results in serious or great bodily injury to a child; voluntary manslaughter of a child; or aiding or abetting such voluntary manslaughter, soliciting such voluntary manslaughter, or attempting or conspiring to commit such voluntary manslaughter
  • The parent has committed murder, aided or abetted a murder, solicited a murder, or attempted or conspired to commit murder.
  • The parental rights of the parent to another child have been terminated involuntarily.