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

Date: September 2019

What Are Reasonable Efforts

Citation: Pol. & Proc. Man. § 3371

The primary goal of the Department for Children and Families (DCF) and the Adoption and Safe Families Act (ASFA) is the safety of the child.

Services to the family that are used to document reasonable efforts include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Referral to DCF family services
  • Referral to other community resource agencies (i.e. clothing/food banks, day care centers, churches, and counseling centers, etc.)
  • Referral to services provided by the school system
  • Referral to the family preservation case management provider

Services to the family and/or child that facilitate reintegration include, but are not limited to, the following:

  • Assistance in building a family support network
  • Family counseling/therapy
  • Assistance in accessing school resources
  • Parenting classes
  • Referral to drug/alcohol treatment
  • Individual therapy
  • In-home services
  • Budgeting instruction
  • Employment services
  • Housing assistance
  • Assistance in accessing all applicable community resources
  • Assistance with transportation and in developing the family's transportation resources
  • Development of a safety plan at reintegration
  • Development of a crisis intervention plan

When Reasonable Efforts Are Required

Citation: Pol. & Proc. Man. § 3371

Reasonable efforts shall be made to prevent the removal of the child from the home. Documentation prepared by the court must articulate reasonable efforts the agency made to keep the child at home or demonstrate that an emergency existed, and the child's safety was in jeopardy, requiring out-of-home placement.

Reasonable efforts need to be taken into consideration when determining case plan objectives. It is important to be aware of services that have already been implemented as well as services that may yet be needed.

When a child has been removed from his/her home, the child welfare case management provider is responsible for the provision of services to facilitate reintegration. The decision to recommend reintegration is a decision made by and communicated to the court. The primary factors in this decision are the safety and well-being of the child. Demonstrating reasonable efforts to return a child home when there is a concurrent plan is especially important.

During the time the child is in out-of-home placement, the case management provider shall ensure the family receives services to address the concerns that resulted in out-of-home placement. Identification of these services shall take place during all case-planning conferences. The case management provider shall continually monitor the effectiveness of these services.

The family shall receive adequate follow-up services from the case management provider during the 12 months aftercare period following the child's return home.

When Reasonable Efforts Are NOT Required

Citation: Ann. Stat. § 38-2255; Pol. & Proc. Man. § 3371

If custody of the child has been awarded to a person other than a parent, a permanency plan shall be prepared. If a permanency plan is provided at the dispositional hearing, the court may determine whether reintegration is a viable alternative. In determining whether reintegration is a viable alternative, the court shall consider whether:

  • The parent has been found by a court to have committed one of the following crimes or to have aided and abetted, attempted, conspired, or solicited the commission of one of these crimes:
    • First- or second-degree murder
    • Capital murder
    • Voluntary manslaughter
    • Felony battery that resulted in bodily injury
  • The parent has subjected the child or another child to aggravated circumstances.
  • The parent has previously been found to be an unfit parent.
  • The child has been in an out-of-home placement for 15 of the most recent 22 months.
  • The parents have failed to work diligently toward reintegration.
  • The secretary has provided the family with services necessary for the safe return of the child to the home.
  • It is reasonable to expect reintegration to occur within a timeframe consistent with the child's developmental needs.

In policy: Both ASFA and the Kansas Code for the Care of Children clarify that child safety is paramount and efforts to maintain a child at home or reintegrate the child are not required when any of the following apply:

  • A parent has been convicted of murder of any child.
  • A parent has aided, abetted, attempted, conspired or solicited the murder of any child.
  • A parent has been convicted of a felony battery that resulted in bodily injury to any child.
  • A parent has subjected any child to abandonment, torture, chronic abuse, sexual abuse, or chronic life-threatening neglect.
  • Parental rights to any child have been involuntarily terminated.
  • The child has been in out-of-home placement for 15 of the last 22 months.