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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 325, § 5/8.2

The term 'family preservation services' refers to all services to help families, including adoptive and extended families.

Appropriate family preservation services shall be included in the service plan if the Department of Children and Family Services has determined that those services will ensure the child's health and safety, are in the child's best interests, and will not place the child in imminent risk of harm. Such plans may include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Case management services
  • Homemakers, including emergency caretakers, housekeepers, and chore services
  • Counseling, including individual therapy, infant stimulation therapy, family therapy, group therapy, self-help groups, drug and alcohol abuse counseling, vocational counseling, and postadoption services
  • Parent education
  • Day care, including protective day care and day care to meet educational, prevocational, or vocational needs
  • Emergency assistance and advocacy assessments, including coordinated services to secure emergency cash, food, and housing
  • Respite care
  • In-home health care
  • Transportation to obtain any of the above services
  • Medical assistance

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505/5

The department shall offer family preservation services to help families, including adoptive and extended families. Such services shall be offered for the following purposes:

  • To prevent the placement of children in substitute care when the children can be cared for at home or in the custody of the person responsible for the children's welfare
  • To reunite children with their families
  • To maintain an adoptive placement

Family preservation services shall only be offered when doing so will not endanger the children's health or safety. The child and his or her family shall be eligible for services as soon as the report of suspected child abuse or neglect is determined to be indicated. The department may offer services to any family about whom a report of suspected child abuse or neglect has been filed prior to concluding its investigation. The department also may provide services to any child or family who is the subject of a report or may refer the family to services available from other agencies in the community, even if the report is determined to be unfounded, if the conditions in the child's or family's home are reasonably likely to subject the child or family to future reports of suspected child abuse or neglect. Acceptance of such services shall be voluntary.

When a child is placed in foster care, the department shall ensure and document that reasonable efforts were made to prevent or eliminate the need to remove the child from the child's home. The department must make reasonable efforts to reunify the family when temporary placement of the child occurs unless otherwise required.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Cons. Stat. Ch. 20, § 505/5; Ch. 705, § 405/2-13.1

When the department believes that further reunification services would be ineffective, it may request a finding from the court that reasonable efforts are no longer appropriate. The court shall grant this motion with respect to a parent of the minor if the court finds after a hearing that any of the following apply:

  • The parent has had his or her parental rights to another child involuntarily terminated
  • The parent has been convicted of any of the following:
    • First-degree or second-degree murder of another child of the parent
    • Attempt, conspiracy, or solicitation to commit first-degree or second-degree murder of another child of the parent
    • Aggravated battery, aggravated battery of a child, or felony domestic battery, any of which has resulted in serious bodily injury to the minor or another child of the parent
    • An offense in any other State substantially similar to any of the above offenses

The department is not required to provide further reunification services after such a finding.